With tunes all by Michael Formanek except ‘Jade Visions’ the last of the 10 and which was written by the great Bill Evans bassist Scott LaFaro (1936-61) Even Better finds bassist composer and improviser Formanek with his Very Practical Trio: the estimable MF alongside saxophonist Tim Berne exceptionally, bluesily, raw on the thriving-on-a-riff opener ‘Suckerpunch’; and with guitar innovator Mary Halvorson.

An inspired studio affair remarkable for its concision and bite as early pre-release tracks suggested and completely borne out by the rest of the album, this Intakt presentation was recorded eight months ago in Mount Vernon, New York.

‘Still Here’ goes deeper: a swirling sax invocation that exhibits Berne in his flexible and imaginative best light as he circles around the main idea.

‘Implausible Deniability’ is offset by a tonally pure Formanek cue note; and then Berne and Halvorson shadow each other on a sort of a freebop joust: Formanek’s solo further on is superb and one that emerges organically, say in a Charlie Haden manner, and very nicely springy more to the point containing a lot of narrative vision.

‘Shattered’ opens with Halvorson who does a bit of her signature detunery as she finds a space that she wants to follow and explore. It is like surf music or ducking under water and then exhaling as you hit the air. Berne’s melody line is majestic Ornettology (quite a moment when he first begins) and is embued with a beautiful blues connotation.

‘The Shifter’ is really salty and has a jerky motion: Formanek is expert at negotiating the feeling that there are no bar lines which of course given that this is audio and not staves on the page none there are. The trio are better put maybe elastic: and where the ‘one’ is shifts and is unguessable and yep it means that there is momentum or it swings if you prefer the term... all this lest we forget without a drummer although you never miss the lack of anyone at the kit. Halvorson’s solo hereabouts is like Houdini and her contribution is a fine feat of escapology.

‘Apple and Snake’ again is about ache and Berne leads off. ‘But Will It Float’ has a cascading spread of arpeggiating resource, the scale laid out as a laminated menu and then a path smeared and passed around for the rest of the tune to be selected and then sent off to be cooked. Call this a driving road song if you like. ‘Bomb the Cactus’ has a bit of strummery at the beginning and then a pretty tune that is more anarchic than it sounds. Finally ‘Jade Visions’ has lovely deep full of feeling bass as if quietly spoken and yet urged aloud to resound and linger long. SG


Introducing The Good Noise – at the Lough Inn jazz and blues jam.

gigs to go. start the week

Sun Ra Arkestra, tonight and tomorrow, Jazz Cafe, London
Mingus big band, tonight, first of 6 nights, Ronnie Scott’s, London. Mingus Ah Um was released 60 years ago this month.

Sue Rynhart and Huw Warren, tonight, Whiskey Jar, Manchester
Ronnie Greer and John McCullough, tonight, Berts, Belfast

Ätsch, thursday, Arthur’s, Dublin
A Dublin-based quartet formed by German guitarist Matthias Winkler three years ago at a time when he was studying music in Ireland. The best Irish jazz release in 2019 easily: with Winkler are pianist Graham Bourke, bass guitarist Eoin O’Halloran, and drummer Hugh Denman. Ätsch have their own thing going on that draws on a number of different areas way beyond most jazz however they also circle on the centrality of certain mainstream styles that neither the words “modern” nor “progressive” tacked on as a prefix do justice. The intertwining nature of these border crossing explorations is what makes these fellas sound fresh. The tunes breathe big, clean air. They play Arthur’s where their latest album was recorded – on Thursday night.

Henri Texier trio, thursday, Jazz Cafe, London
The Good Noise, thursday, the Lough Inn, Enniskillen
Luca Manning, thursday, Blue Arrow, Glasgow

Calum Gourlay quartet, friday, Blue Arrow, Glasgow
Mark Kavuma, friday, Verdict, Brighton
Paul Booth, friday, Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, Cork
SNJO, saturday, the Maltings, Berwick-upon-Tweed
Kurt Elling, saturday, Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, Cork
Linley Hamilton, sunday, Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, Cork
Fred Hersch trio, sunday, Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, Cork
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, sunday, Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, Cork

Irish jazz scene news
Dublin promoter IMC in a news piece on their site mentions that the Ronan Guilfoyle jazz sextet project ‘Restless Islands’ will be in receipt of Beyond Borders funding via the IMC auspices for 5 shows to encompass appearances on the island of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

An extended suite for jazz sextet, Guilfoyle, IMC explain: “Will use composition, improvisation and audio recordings to explore the life and times of the people of these islands and reflect on some of the major events of the first three decades of the 20th century.”

Paul Dunlea and New Irish Jazz Orchestra presenting ‘Four Corners’ will tour, IMC continue, a new Paul Dunlea suite that is also backed by Beyond Borders, an initiative that is run by the PRS Foundation in partnership with Creative Scotland, supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon.

For more: see the IMC site

Digging Bill English. Exceedingly classy stuff and yet bad news, brace yourselves: proving hard to get hold of a physical copy.

English, who was born in 1925, made jazz history on Midnight Blue [recorded and released in 1963]. He is also on the later Kenny Burrell album, Soul Call.

Here he is also caught in 1963 the drummer in the moment with Seldon Powell [in 1963 saxophonist Powell was on Open House! with the organist Johnny Hammond Smith] on tenor and who also plays flute, Dave Burns on trumpet, Lloyd G Mayers [the year before Mayers played with the Oliver Nelson orchestra on A Taste of Honey] on piano, and Martin Revere on bass.

Tracks are: The John Acea tune ‘222’ [hear Acea on Groovin' with Jacquet]; Bart Howard’s super familiar ‘Fly Me to the Moon’; ‘Rollin’’ by the tenorist Powell who is as you can glean above on Bill English; ‘Heavy Soul’ by trumpeter Burns; ‘7th Ave Bill’ by English; ‘A Blues Serenade’ by Parrish and Signorelli and first covered in the 1920s by Johnny Sylvester & His Playmates; ‘Sel’s Tune’ a number again written by Seldon Powell; and finally the Kahn-Donaldson standard that on the decades-later 1989 album Trio Jeepy Branford Marsalis made his own – the mega fun ‘Makin’ Whoopie’.’

If rummaging for great and pretty rare vintage jazz from the 1960s you chance upon this, surely – happy days. Before you begin your hunt wrap your ears around a YouTube highly compressed but perfectly OK listening wise version. The vinyl will bring out the warmth of the tenor sax that bit more especially and add the width we all miss when listening to Internet sound. But you know essentially audiophile considerations are not what matter at all. It was the human feeling the players put into the tunes that does instead and still applies all these years on. No technology can ever reproduce that sense so as listeners dancing in the dark we have to use our imaginations to bypass the tech and tap direct into the essence of the music as if we are standing there in real time listening with no barriers as if mics are not even needed. That is an effort towards enlightenment worth taking.

Yes ‘Zigsaw’. Both a single track and a piece that doubles as an album, it runs to more than a double symphony in length. Back in the summer Steve Lampert told marlbank shedding light on the way he sees things: “The piece is a metaphor for dreams I’ve had, sometimes of surreal character, which zigzag along in puzzle-like continuities. Stylized episodes return in these dreams but they always bear a transformed content somewhat like jigsaw puzzle pieces which have similar or even identical shapes while presenting differing parts of the overall image to which they contribute.” Beyond the poetry of Lampert’s description, a stab at what it sounds like: a lop sided sense of atonal funk is offset by relatively accessible keyboard electro relief. An odd strangulated vocalising emerges out of nowhere like a revenant. Now read on. The dazzling element is our hero John O’Gallagher, a hugely gifted US avant gardist who has been teaching in Birmingham in recent years and who in his ferocious alto saxophonoetry propels Zigsaw into an elliptical orbit that freewheels far out into the deep yonder. The crowd scenes, soloists flit in and out of being in the melée, are filled by a septet who are always there or thereabouts (full personnel: Preminger, Jason Palmer, John O’Gallagher, Kris Davis, Rob Schwimmer, Kim Cass, Rudy Royston: instrumentation is tenor saxophone, trumpet, alto saxophone, piano, Haken continuum/clavinet, bass, drums). The piece does not have an easily discernible narrative but that does not matter given that this is abstract music although structurally it is very robust. I am thinking of the sound of Don Cherry in my head certainly when Jason Palmer plays and more so throughout hints of Steve Coleman-like MBASE in the episodes when avant funk takes hold and Royston starts to curl the sound into an open space, letting his groove fall and paddle behind the beat. Then there is the cry of the blues when O’Gallagher is wailing and that is where the album and the composition works best and inspires some great responses from the players who do not rely on set phrases in their improv. There is a lot going on here, a good deal of imaginative improvisation embedded within the writing, and it is fundamentally as engrossing as pulp fiction. Put “the book” down? Only after the unguessable end. SG

Now streaming via Bandcamp **** recommended

Over three days Tim Berne – as the Birmingham City University website describes the Birmingham residency later this month honing in on some particulars – “Will be working with student groups on a number of his compositions, which will be the feature of the first part of the evening. Then, Tim will play in duo format with Liam Noble on piano; they may well be joined by other guests.” Details

From the upcoming, exhilarating, Modern Ancestors (Afrasia)one of the jazz vocals events of 2019.

Read a recent interview with Carmen Lundy.

Look for the tremendously arranged Assembly of Shadows (SoundSpore) that while possessive of plenty of beef... is ripe to quite easily veg out to in a fortnight: listen to a few tracks to think about snapping this sleek new arrival up when the time is right. If you dig the Maria Schneider soundsphere and want a fresh take on a larger ensemble sound suffused with a Copland-esque/Milhaud facility and loose command of an ingeniously blended range of jazz idioms then leap to listen. Saxophonist-composer Remy Le Boeuf is not a newcomer although he is not well known beyond the top US talent spotter cognoscenti and yet is not exactly a veteran either. ‘Strata’ is an original and ‘Honeymooners’ is by Ornette Coleman, note the Coltrane changes at the beginning. Hugely stimulating, augurs supremely well. Discover these sounds alive with life and ideas, today.


Dave Holland

Following the release of Good HopeDave Holland in this exclusive interview mentions details of two new records to be released in 2020: one to come in Feb-March called Without Deception the bassist with pianist Kenny Barron and drummer Johnathan Blake that accompanies a concurrent tour, plus, towards the end of next year, a second album that features guitarist Kevin Eubanks and drummer Obed Calvaire. The interview also touches on Gnu High, the essence of the raga, and walking the walk – talking the Leroy Vinnegar talk. 

Speaking on the phone Dave says that he is probably going to go to the Royal Academy of Arts on Piccadilly later today to look at an exhibition, and then tomorrow he will have lunch with his long-time friend, the saxophonist and composer Evan Parker.

He takes me back first of all to the Wolverhampton of his youth and mentions as a young boy playing the ukulele, being into skiffle, early rock ’n’ roll and taking up guitar. He learned “everything by ear’’ he says, and later took some lessons but it was listening to the radio in his house that he learned most from: “We had an old radio, I spent a lot of time turning the dial slowly to stations from all over the world.’’


He listened to everything from Elvis and Bill Haley to Cliff Richard. “I didn’t catch up on Ray Charles and Bo Diddley until later.’’

Dave started gigging aged 13 at his local youth club playing “rhythm guitar.” He also listened to Lonnie Donegan but did not at that time know about Lead Belly, although he mentions listening to Josh White, the great anti-segregation singer who hailed from Greenville, South Carolina.

On television Dave watched Sunday Night at the London Palladium and says that he had his “first exposure to Duke Ellington’’ through watching the show. Gigging a lot from he was a young teen Dave says that there was not much time for homework and instead he left school at 15. He started in his jazz listening by turning on to Ray Brown and bought the records that Brown was on with Oscar Peterson. “They changed my life,’’ Dave says. He started playing the acoustic bass later. And yet still in his teens he worked in a dance band in the Yorkshire seaside resort of Scarborough. “We played to dancing, and it was the Beatles, Chuck Berry, foxtrots, waltzes, ballroom dancing, Basie charts – and we had a book of 300 pieces.’’

In the afternoons when he was off he taught himself how to read music and then with the band there was much more to play all in a day’s work including Sousa marches.

Dave got a gig with the American singer Johnnie Ray who had number 1 hits in the UK in the 1950s with ‘Such a Night’ and ‘Walking in the Rain’ but is possibly most renowned for the still startling ‘Cry’ some radio stations still regularly play: “A pop singer at the time. I took the gig and went on the road.’’

Dave says Bobby Wellins [the saxophonist of later Under Milk Wood fame] was in the band and he left and “another man of Greek heritage’’ joined later who would offer Dave a chance to play in a Greek restaurant in central London’s Victoria district and which then began his experience of the London music scene which he would become immersed in before moving to live in the United States.

Dave explains that his initiation into the world of Ronnie Scott’s, which this month celebrates its 60th birthday and where on its later Frith Street premises he would be heard and recruited by Miles Davis: “One Sunday off I went to Ronnie Scott’s then on Gerrard Street and there was a picture outside of an African American guitarist who was playing.’’

Dave did not realise it until he walked in and then spent the night on the front table that he would be listening to Wes Montgomery who happened to be playing with bassist Malcolm Cecil and pianist Stan Tracey who for many years was the ‘house pianist’ at Scott’s.

“I wanted to learn bass even more and started talking to bass players and getting tips on how to hold my hands.’’

Dave took lessons in 1963-4 with James Edward Merritt, the original bass player of the Philharmonia and later the BBC Symphony Orchestra who invited him to apply to Guildhall, a classical conservatoire based in London where in those days jazz was discouraged. Dave won a scholarship and small maintenance allowance “which wasn’t enough to live on but helped a bit,’’ he explains. And so he continued to go up to Scarborough for summertime dates while a student. “Guildhall didn’t approve of jazz and there was an understanding that you weren’t doing it because they saw it as detrimental.’’ He says he could see it from that point of view but it “didn’t stop me from doing gigs.’’ He mentions how he also played in London pubs at that time and that there was a New Orleans revival going on. Acker Bilk with ‘Stranger on the Shore’ went to number 1 and Kenny Ball rendering ‘Midnight in Moscow’ made number 2 in both the UK and the US pop charts.

Dave’s interests were more modern and he worked with many British musicians in that domain. As for drummers who he played with at the time he says that he did play responding to a suggestion with Phil Seamen a few times and warms to the theme as he mentions John Marshall and Tony Oxley.

“In 1966 I met with my own generation of musicians like John Surman, Mike Osborne and Chris McGregor’’ (explaining that Chris was a bit older). Liking the modern style: ‘‘Coltrane, Ornette, Cecil Taylor – I was buying their records and studying and making my own attempts at adopting the music.’’

Dave says he played with the great Jamaican free form saxophonist Joe Harriott a few times and he brings up the West Indian player Ross Henderson who had a steel pan band.

In terms of Coltrane and his Eastern interests the scales associated with Indian music appealed to him and Dave was buying what later would be called world music including African records on the UNESCO series and music from all over the world including from the Middle East and China.

To this day and the release of Good Hope most topically plus earlier collaborations with Anouar Brahem notably late-1990s album Thimar Dave has continued his explorations and creative responses to a wide range of styles and traditions.

In the London of the 1960s he would go to concerts of visiting musicians from around the globe, and it was the rhythmic things that interested him he explains. He listened to Ravi Shankar records although did not see Ravi live and also liked the music of the father of his Crosscurrents trio bandmate Zakir Hussain, the deeply revered Alla Rakha.

Dave explains that in Indian music “the raga is another word for scale and each represents a mood: a decoration and dedication.’’

His interest is piqued by the “alternative structures’’ inherent in the language of Indian music and the rhythms’ developmental progress. And, for instance, in the way the rhythm divides into beats with syncopation and rhythms crossing over within that.

In essence Indian music he explains has “cycles’’ at its heart and very long metrical form that then subdivides. He says that you cannot count as you play: you have to feel the music “better to hear and feel the scale’’. And further elucidating he compares the discipline of writing words to not involving at all any thoughts about the letters of the alphabet as writing takes place. It’s not thinking about numbers or in the case of the alphabet letters: more about expressing otherwise “identifying inhibits.’’

Holland’s discography is huge and so the conversation turns for reasons of concision to some highlights. It is staggering thinking about this afterwards who Holland has played with over the years and who we do not have time to talk about who include Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea –  to have a chance to linger on the classic recordings Bitches Brew, In a Silent Way and Filles de Kilimanjaro that Dave appears on with Miles.

Instead turning for a moment to Gnu High a 1976 released record that Dave made with Keith Jarrett, Kenny Wheeler who he later would appear with on the all-star 1990s classic Angel Song and completing the band his great friend Jack DeJohnette. Dave remembers the recording for the ECM label as “a concentrated six hours.’’ Kenny, he says, was “hands off’’ unlike when he operates as a leader himself or for that matter when Keith or Jack do. “There was not a lot of rehearsing, we just let it happen. So my memories are: it was heads down. It is in the list of my own favourite recordings. There was a certain magic in the air.’’

As for Jack DeJohnette he says that he most recently worked with Jack on a recording led by saxophonist Tia Fuller and he says that “we live close to each other in the Hudson Valley.’’ With Jack and the much missed John Abercrombie Dave completed the band Gateway and speaks of the Chicago concert that Gateway got back together again to play during Jack’s 70th birthday celebrations a little. “I saw John a few times before he died. It was a big loss. He was a good friend and he was funny and warm.’’

Speaking of Evan Parker whenever in London he tries to meet up with Evan if the saxophonist is also around and who he has known since 1966 when they were playing together in the Little Theatre in the West End, the players passing through who also included Trevor Watts and Kenny Wheeler. Dave says he used to go round to “Evan’s apartment and listen to records’’ and expresses his admiration for his friend’s creative achievements over the years.

‘There was a certain magic in the air’

– Dave Holland on Gnu High

Speaking of Uncharted Territories their album with Craig Taborn and Ches Smith that came out last year Dave says that he had never played such open fully improvised music throughout before. He was happy to work with Evan initially as a duo and raised funds for the Vortex club in east London a venue he says “gives a platform for new musicians’’ and he borrows from Ornette to call the initiative when new musicians perform ‘The Shape of Jazz To Come’ (an album that is 60 years old in 2019).

‘’The funds we raised are still being used.’’

On Uncharted Territories with Evan, Dave recruited pianist Craig Taborn who he calls “an incredibly creative player’’ and percussionist Ches Smith who he had not previously worked with before.

They recorded 5 and a ½ hours’ worth of music, a double album’s length of which has already been released that contains enough he says for a further record. He hopes to play together and record with the Uncharted Territories players again.

The new record Good Hope released on pianist Dave Stapleton’s Edition records was recorded at Sear Sound in New York, and Dave says he has recorded there before on “quite a few’’ occasions with his band Aziza and Prism. Dave speaks of the vintage microphones there and the special sound and how “very comfortable’’ it is. 

As the interview moves to a natural conclusion as well as mentioning the new records indicated at the beginning of the article coming up soon Dave says how happy speaking of his recent work, which has also included collaborations renewed again with Anouar Brahem on Blue Maqams how the work in its “diversity represents what I want to do.’’

Beyond music Dave says he likes to read books on history, novels, sci-fi and scientific books, also books about neuroscience and that he “reads a lot as we travel’’. He also likes the magazines The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books.

What goes around comes around and the conversation concludes with a word on Leroy Vinnegar whose Leroy Walks! and Leroy Walks Again!! Dave liked as a young man along with the sound of Ray Brown.  He says to my surprise that he even is “kind of the guardian of Leroy’s bass’’ and explains why because Leroy’s partner had reached out to him about his bass after he passed away wanting the bass to go to someone who would not just buy it for a trophy to hang on a wall or something. Dave looked at photos of it and it turned out when he got it to have a look at that it was the bass on the cover of the records that he liked all those years ago.

The luthier David Gage then spent a year repairing it and Dave acts as its custodian and the bass is currently on the Gage premises where Dave says players who visit are encouraged to play on it and he mentions to his delight Ron Carter and John Patitucci availing of the opportunity. Leroy “lives.’’ SG 

Good Hope is out now. The Crosscurrents trio play Cadogan Hall within the EFG London Jazz Festival on 17 November

‘In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning’ performed by Birth of the Cool icon Lee Konitz plus woodwinds, reeds and strings jazz chamber nonet arranged and conducted by Ohad Talmor is now streaming.

Konitz who turned 92 recently has a dauntingly large discography and keeps adding to it. He is a huge influence globally on a generation of players sometimes referred to as part of the new Cool School.
The latest record Old Songs New will be released in November and you can listen to a treatment of the 1950s David Mann standard ‘In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning’ from the album streaming today via Sunnyside. (Mann also wrote melodies for the classics ‘Don’t Go to Strangers’ and ‘No Moon at All’.) Personnel on the album: Lee Konitz, alto saxophone; Ohad Talmor, tenor saxophone (5), arranger, conductor; Caroline Davis, flute & alto flute; Christof Knoche, clarinet; Denis Lee, bass clarinet; Judith Insell, viola; Mariel Roberts, cello; Dimos Goudaroulis, cello; Christopher Tordini, bass; George Schuller, drums.

Lucky Peterson, one of the greatest bluesicians on the planet, talks about Jimmy Reed in a new promo video for 50 – Just Warming Up to be released by the folks at French label Jazz Village on 25 October. Lucky, a regular visitor to Ireland and the UK, is playing a decent run of mainly French dates this autumn running through the winter and into the spring next year. View the video and audio.

Deep catalogue listening Zakir Hussain currently on the marlbank album of the week with Dave Holland and Chris Potter – Good Hope – here on Into the Music with Van Morrison on ‘Bright Side of the Road’ adding that incredible upness in the off beat, a fabulous head bobbing bounce, to the life of the song.

One of the world’s great jazz innovators here using guitar effects for the first time in ages and a year on from the release of his inspirational Monk project Work guitarist Miles Okazaki grounded in MBASE and pushing towards stellar regions unknown has a new album out later this month called The Sky Below stocked with original compositions. Listen to a couple of tracks from the album which will be put out by a label that he has been on for a while, Pi. Check out some of the very erudite literary sleeve notes that Okazaki has written on his website, for instance for a taste of his thinking. He explains the fifth track called ‘Monstropolous’ along these lines:

“The monstropolous beast had left his bed. The two hundred miles a hour wind had loosed his chains. He seized hold of his dikes and ran forward until he met the quarters; uprooted them like grass and rushed on after his supposed-to-be conquerors, rolling the dikes, rolling the houses, rolling the people in the houses along with other timbers. The sea was walking the earth with a heavy heel.”

– Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

The tempest arrives, erasing the boundary between land and sea. Water creatures washed ashore, land creatures pulled into the depths. For New Orleans.”


Okazaki draws on earlier album Trickster, according to the official description “reduced them to their basic components, and rewrote new compositions from this genetic material to carry on the story to a new generation with symbolic and sonic continuity.”

The band is interesting: Okazaki with Tim Berne pianist Matt Mitchell; the Brit long-time US-based Quite Sane bass guitarist and long time Steve Coleman sideman Anthony Tidd; and another MBASE family member – Sean Rickman on drums. Look for the full album on 25 October.

Free at Last

It is quite a saga and to be fair pretty exciting however exasperating at how little we still know about the prospect given how official channels are very tight lipped about the whole project. The main takeaways in addition to earlier snippets: Free At Last – Extended Edition will be released in November on 2 LPs.

Top of the marlbank wish list for 13 months in terms of records we want to get hold of is now the slightly more imminent reissue than it was then of the Mal Waldron album Free At Last, which is still impossible to find in the physical LP format. Even on CD you would need to be a super sleuth journeying deep to ring the doorbell of some eccentric shop in somewhere like Penge or Potter’s Bar to have a hope of finding one because it was the first album ECM put out almost 50 years ago and yep that starts everyone on a sentimental journey even if they were only ankle biters at the time or remarkably given the power of all our imaginations among the unborn.

The record itself was released not in 1969, however. It was recorded in late-November of that year and so label history begins with the recording session and then ECM itself began in terms of its public release on 1 January 1970 and that started the whole Edition of Contemporary Music story rolling.

We all have known for a while that extra tracks will be made available on the reissue. Thankfully unlike a lot of reissues this is actually an important record historically even though it is so atypical in many ways in terms of the vast majority of the ECM output certainly varied and highly eclectic in recent years. It may very well not have seemed at all like that at the time.

Waldron in his note on the original LP wrote: “As you can see and hear this album marks for me a different approach to my music. It represents my meeting with free jazz. Free jazz for me does not mean complete anarchy or disorganised sound. In my vocabulary disorganised sound still means noise. And don’t forget that the definition of music is organised sound.”

Familiarise yourself with Impressions ten years before Free At Last if you have some quality listening time available. No wonder ECM wanted Waldron on the brand new label. Waldron (piano) here with Addison Farmer (bass) and Albert ‘Tootie’ Heath (drums) recorded at the Rudy Van Gelder studio in Hackensack, New Jersey on 20 March 1959.

Marlbank understands that the release will be in the form as the lead format of a 2-LP set which will come out in mid-November although this release date might slip given the fact that ECM are fastidious about test pressings often rejecting batches of them until the product is right and vinyl in the UK also takes longer than in Germany to reach the shops and there is let us not forget also the not insignificant matter of the pesky Dog’s Breakfast shape of Johnson to come before that which might mean that we will all be living in a cave and eating cold baked beans from a spoon: best case scenario.

Free at Last: The Extended Edition, no track titles relating to the extra tracks are known beyond the inner circle in Munich HQ. Presumably everyone has taken a vow of silence down by the autobahn as usual. Leaks are frowned upon.

Anyway dear anoraks quick recap: Waldron made history as one of the great Billie Holiday accompanists. The Free at Last trio had Isla Eckinger on double bass and Clarence Becton on drums and the album was recorded on 24 November 1969 at the Tonstudio in Ludwigsburg. Tracks were: ‘Rat Now,’ ‘Balladina,’ ‘1-2-234,’ ‘Rock My Soul,’ ‘Willow Weep For Me’ and ‘Boo’. All titles were written by Waldron with the exception of the Ann Ronell standard ‘Willow Weep For Me’. A CD was issued in 2000.

The album was produced by Manfred Scheffner who sadly died recently. Scheffner was known for the marvellous initially pre-Internet reference book the Bielefelder Katalog (now online) which for a long time was one of the most prized books in various editions on my bookshelf and desk, an extremely accurate and well produced list of records available to buy which was frequently updated – and was an outstanding achievement of research, knowledge and record business insight. SG

Gary Crosby is presenting a one year programme dedicated to Trojan Records to launch during Black History Month. The mighty Jazz Jamaica All Stars are touring The Trojan Story part of The Reggae Ticket.

From The Roots

The inspirational bassist and bandleader says: “It’s great to take The Reggae Ticket across the UK and heighten awareness of the Trojan catalogue among the next generation and new audiences as both a musical form and a cultural phenomenon. We’ve tried to focus our efforts in communities at a cultural and socio-economic disadvantage and thank Arts Council England for their crucial support.

“I’m looking forward to sharing and celebrating the rich heritage of reggae in British culture, and providing a platform on which to hand down an oral history from elders to the younger generation, which is of vital importance if black culture is to survive and leave a legacy. Through our decades of work in the community, Tomorrow’s Warriors has built an incredible network of creative partners across the UK and it will be our honour to collaborate to create something really unique across each of the seven cities. We hope that, through The Reggae Ticket, we will continue to inspire and enrich the next generation and local communities alike.”

The tour kicks off at Birmingham Town Hall on Friday 25 October, with dates to take in Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, Gateshead, Edinburgh and London.

Drawn from Yesun by Roberto Fonseca to be released by Wagram on Friday.

Need to know just enough essential parts, Fuse Number Eleven is now out and does not early listens suggest disappoint in the slightest. Check the Swedish language electronic press kit complete with subtitles in English and evocative sounds from the trio underlaid as they retreat to the country to record. If you are so far in the dark this is a chance to edge towards finding out why there is already quite a burgeoning groundswell of interest in the trio. Extra Daniel Karlsson trio dates are now by the looks of it already stencilled in as they hurtle around Europe.

Thurs 7 Nov The Albany Club, Coventry

Fri 8th Stoller Hall, Manchester
Sat 9th Clun Valley jazz, Shropshire
Sun 10th Blue Arrow, Glasgow

Wed 13th Fougou Jazz, Devon
Thu 14th Left Bank Village, Hereford
Fri 15th 1000 Trades, Birmingham


The Good Noise 24 October 2019 The Lough Inn

A word on the band who are playing together for the first time – the Kenny Burrell-loving Cris Gill is best known for his work with Rico Rodriguez in Rico & His Band (Rico very famously was on ‘A Message to You Rudy’ in The Specials), Roni McManus is a fine bassist and vocalist who leads, playing bass guitar, Sidewalk Boogie, the popular Chicago blues loving four-piece and in The Good Noise will play double bass alongside fellow Boogie guitarist Gill; plus there is Caolán Hutchinson who surfaced as part of The Jazz Hole scene in Omagh and who has jammed at Arthur’s in Dublin with the Irish jazz great Ronan Guilfoyle and is a very bright piano talent; and James Anderson from Belfast is the latest in a line of great drummers from the city and beyond further into Antrim and Down (“Dakiz” Davis, Darren Beckett, David Lyttle, Peter McKinney) to emerge, and on the BBC radar a few years ago recording at the high profile Music Day Blackstaff Sessions. The gig marks a crisp new Sugar Projects originated marlbank look and 6 years of the blog – into the music.

The keyboardist, composer and arranger Milcho Leviev has died at the age of 81. He appeared on Billy Cobham, Gerald Wilson, Don Ellis and Roy Haynes records and as a leader recorded for a number of labels his work spanning several decades, notable titles including The Oracle with Dave Holland.

Read a report in The Sofia Globe.