Monday, November 1, 2021

Steve Barry / Roy Issac / Hamish Stuart - Green Thumbs (November 1, 2021)

You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot stop spring.
- Pablo Neruda

And here spring is!

Saxophonist and hot-sauce-afficionado Roger Manins planted the first seed of this record – the sound of Jack McDuff’s squabbling chords and punctuated bass lines will be forever linked with driving to gigs in Auckland in Rog's beat up old Hiace. As the first 2020 Covid lockdown hit Sydney and coincided with a personal upheaval, Green Thumbs the band and the music you hear here burst into bloom, driven by the joy, playfulness and groove so iconic of the Hammond organ.

It was an easy choice of partners, too. One of my oldest mates, Roy Issac and I have played countless an organ trio gig since an early regular stint at a low-ceilinged, often-crammed Oxford Street basement bar and eatery. Roy is also in my opinion one of this country’s finest and most versatile guitarists. Drummer Hamish Stuart needs no introduction as the go to drummer for jazz luminaries like Mike Nock, Barney McAll, Jonathan Zwartz, Cameron Undy, and having worked with legendary names such as Jackie Orszáczky, Ayers Rock and Marcia Hines. Before Green Thumbs we had played together just a few times, and it was never for long enough!

After a few months in the rehearsal lab, we played one show at Sydney’s Foundry 616 and hit the studio. A year on with spring upon us after a winter of lockdown, it's time to set this record free!

Cop Show Rip Off tips the hat to the 70s and Starsky & Hutch. The first tune off the pencil for this band, Green Thumbs is a nod to John Scofield and takes its name ironically from very unsuccessful attempts to grow passionfruit. Roy plays a sublime solo on Repose, something we all need a little of after the last few chaotic years. The late great Dr Lonnie Smith was the embodiment the soul of the Hammond organ, and Lonnie pays homage to his indelible spirit. If It Ain’t Broke is a testimony to keeping it simple…well, mostly. We get our “jazz nerd” on a little bit in Spooky with some irrational meter. After all that, Hymn offers a moment of pause and prayer, with a little bit of Burt Bacharach as its launching pad. Lastly, Fiesta Sequester indulges in the party after a long hiatus.
Steve Barry

1. Cop Show Rip Off 07:45
2. Green Thumbs 08:40
3. Repose 08:04
4. Lonnie 07:46
5. If It Ain't Broke... 07:11
6. Spooky 08:07
7. Hymn 05:24
8. Fiesta Sequester 07:54

Steve Barry – Hammond organ
Roy Issac – guitar
Hamish Stuart – drums

Recorded by Richie Belkner at Free Energy Device Studios, 9th December 2020
Mixed by Richie Belkner
Mastered by Michael Lynch at Shoehorse Sound
Cover design by Jim Grimwade
Photography by Peter Woodbury

David Linx - Be My Guest, The Duos Project (November 12, 2021 Cristal Records)

Nouvel album Be My Guest, The Duos Project

Sortie le 12/11/2021 chez Cristal Records

David Linx est de retour le 12 novembre 2021 avec son nouvel album Be My Guest, The Duos Project, avec de nombreux invités comme Tigran Hamasyan, Ran Blake, Hamilton de Holanda, Theo Bleckmann, Nguyên Lê, Magic Malik, Eric-Maria Couturier et bien d'autres.

Avec ce pannel impressionnant d'invités, David Linx transcende les genres avec sa voix d'or au phrasé inimitable. Vocaliste incontournable de la scène internationale, David Linx revient avec 15 duos inédits qui lui permettent d'étendre encore son répertoire et de poursuivre son exploration de l'art du chant.

"Ces duos sont une façon de continuer à évoluer encore et toujours et me rappellent ma jeunesse, lorsque je me ruais sur tout ce que je ne connaissais pas, avec une curiosité qui est toujours intacte" explique David Linx.

Premier extrait, c'est Round Midnight à l'honneur, avec le pianiste Tigran Hamasyan à découvrir en clip.
Photo Guillaume Saix

Après l'album Skin in the game sorti chez Cristal Records, le chanteur, compositeur et parolier David Linx revient avec Be My Guest, un album de partage, car il contient quinze duos avec des personnalités aussi différentes que Tigran Hamasyan, Or Solomon, Hamilton De Holanda, Trevor Baldwin, Nguyên Lê, Eric-Maria Couturier, Bart Quartier, Diederik Wissels, Rani Weatherby, Peter Hertmans, Gustavo Beytelmann , Marc Ducret, Ran Blake, Theo Bleckmann et Magic Malik.

Bruxellois de culture mais parisien d’adoption, formé au contact de grands musiciens américains, David Linx est, sinon le plus grand (citation de Jazz Magazine), en tout cas l’un des plus formidables chanteurs de jazz que l’on puisse entendre, doublé d’un homme de scène au grand cœur !

Ses premiers succès discographiques sur le fameux Label Bleu à la fin des années 90, en tandem avec le pianiste Diederik Wissels, ont définitivement renouvelé le jazz vocal et inspiré toute une génération de musiciens. David Linx a reçu récemment le prix Octave d’Honneur en Belgique pour l’ensemble de sa carrière, le prix Edison pour le meilleur album de l’année et a été de nombreuses fois récompensé en France : prix Charles Cros, prix de l’Académie du Jazz, Victoires du Jazz.

Ses collaborations avec Paolo Fresu, (Heartland) ou avec des musiciens tels que Armel Dupas, André Cecarelli, Guillaume de Chassy… comptent parmi les plus belles réussites du jazz actuel, dans une veine romantique et moderne à la fois.

“Ce projet Be My Guest est venu à moi très naturellement tel un inventaire qui se réclame, un peu comme si je retournais à l’école. Il est un hommage à la transmission, à l’esprit de curiosité indissociable et indispensable à cet apprentissage par soi-même.

Ces duos sont une façon de continuer à évoluer encore et toujours et me rappellent ma jeunesse lorsque je me ruais sur tout ce que je ne connaissais pas, avec une curiosité qui est toujours intacte.

Ce projet montre toute la richesse de l’environnement sonore dans lequel j’ai grandi. J’ai donc fait appel à un magnifique groupe de musiciens pour explorer et partager cette pensée ; des artistes que je respecte profondément et avec lesquel(le)s je partage une forte amitié et une vision commune du comment et du pourquoi faire de la musique.” - David Linx

Tigran Hamasyan : piano
Or Solomon : piano, voix parlée
Hamilton De Holanda : cavaquinho
Trevor Baldwin : narration
Nguyên Lê : guitare électrique
Éric-Maria Couturier : violoncelle
Bart Quartier : vibraphone
Diederik Wissels : électroniques, claviers
Rani Weatherby : chant, ukulélé
Peter Hertmans : guitare électrique
Gustavo Beytelmann : piano
Marc Ducret : guitare acoustique, guitare électrique
Ran Blake : piano
Theo Bleckmann : chant
Magic Malik : flûte

Chris Laurence - Ken Wheeler: Some Gnu Ones (November 1, 2021 Jazz In Britain)

These three brand new recordings made between 2020-21 were all written specifically for bassist Chris Laurence by his close friend and long-time colleague, the late great jazz trumpeter and composer Kenny Wheeler.

Of the three, Piece for Double Bass and Low Strings and Baroque Piece have never previously been recorded in any form. C-Man first appeared in this form on Kenny’s album ‘Kayak’ but was also rearranged and retitled as Ma Belle Hélène for his album ‘The Widow In The Window’.

Whilst Kenny obviously does not appear on these sessions in person, his composing style is so idiosyncratic and instantly identifiable that his spirit is inextricably woven into the recordings, to such an extent that it is very easy to forget that he isn’t actually there.

We feel that ‘Some Gnu Ones’ represents a fitting tribute to both Kenny’s supreme compositional skills and to Chris’ extraordinary virtuosic and emotive musicianship.

A word from Chris:

Two of these pieces were given to me in manuscript form by Ken some time ago, but it’s only now that I have managed to record them. Ken was not only a prolific writer of jazz music, but was also extremely interested in all forms of composition. The ”Piece For Double Bass and Low Strings” and “Baroque Piece” are examples of his skill. He always liked me to play with the bow, to give the music another dimension.

C-Man was a piece he wrote when I first had a C-string extension fitted to my bass, and featured it on the album “Kayak". “Baroque Piece" was probably in his mind for us to perform together, unfortunately we never got the chance! I would like to thank all the great musicians that performed on this project. This recording has been made during lockdown, with all the restrictions and limitations that came with it!

Hopefully it hasn’t affected the result?

With the assistance, great engineering skills and patience of Darren Williams, I hope we’ve got a recording that Ken would have approved of? Everybody involved has a special place in my musical life, particularly Frank Ricotti, Rita Manning, John Parricelli, Martin France and of course Pete Churchill, who managed to realise Ken’s handwritten score of the string piece, plus all the other players who contributed their musicality!

Chris Laurence

Piece for Double Bass and Low Strings - Kenny Wheeler - A realisation:

I first heard Ken’s music when I was a student at the Guildhall (35 years ago!) and was completely smitten… we all were. So when Chris Laurence sent me a short score of a piece Kenny had written especially for him, and asked me if I could make sense of it with a view to getting it recorded, I jumped at the chance.

The original hand-written score consisted of two complete movements and then the beginnings of a final section that seemed to tail off - almost as though Ken had been interrupted. Thankfully he had returned to the score at some point and left us half a page of sketches for the last movement. So I set about the task of completing this piece for Chris - keenly aware of the responsibility.

Daunting as the task may have seemed, it was made easier because the fragments Ken had left were so fertile. It became clear that the best approach was to let these sketches develop the way they wanted to go - if I could just get myself out of the way the music would complete itself. At times the process was almost mystical.

This wonderful piece was Kenny Wheeler’s gift to Chris Laurence, a testament to their long friendship and musical relationship - and this resonates through every single note. It has been an immense privilege to be part of the team that has helped to bring it all to life.

Pete Churchill

1. Piece For Double Bass and Low Strings (1st movement)
2. Piece For Double Bass and Low Strings (2nd movement)
3. Piece For Double Bass and Low Strings (3rd movement)
4. C-Man
5. Baroque Piece

Piece for Double Bass and Low Strings:
Frank Ricotti - Vibraphone, Martin France - Drums, Rita Manning - Violin, Bill Hawkes & Katie Wilkinson - Violas, Nick Cooper & Ian Burdge - Cellos, Chris Laurence - Double Bass

Frank Ricotti - Vibraphone, John Parricelli - Guitar, Martin France - Drums, Chris Laurence - Double Bass

Baroque Piece:
Tom Walsh - Flugel Horn, John Parricelli - Guitar, Chris Laurence - Double Bass

All tracks composed by Kenny Wheeler. ℗ 1-3 & 5 Copyright Control, 4 Budde Music UK

Recorded 2020-2021 The Den, Harpenden and Livingstone, Wood Green

Executive producers - John Thurlow & Matt Parker

Cover artwork - Brenda Goddard Designs
The cover picture depicts Kenny’s music room in his house in Wallwood Road, East London. Here he would play the trumpet, piano and compose, surrounded by manuscripts, books, cassettes, CD’s, his trumpet and flugelhorn. The album title is written in Kenny's own hand.

Minnie Jordan - What Larks (November 1, 2021)

WHAT LARKS is an album inspired by and dedicated to birds: increasingly threatened, entirely critical, and often overlooked members of our world. WHAT LARKS is a both a hopeful paean to the joy of playing and collaborating with other musicians after a year of isolation, and an elegy for the winged musicians we are in danger of losing.

1. Little Whistler
2. Wings Folded
3. Carolina Chickadee
4. Burgundy and Green
5. What Larks
6. Summer Song
7. Frogsong
8. Bindle and Pochette

All compositions by Minnie Jordan

Violin: Minnie Jordan
Tenor Saxophone: Stephen Byth (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8)
Voice: Ella Jordan (6, 7)
Bass: Greg Loughman (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7), Giacomo Tagliavia (6)
Drums: Ilya Blazh (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7), Misaki Nakamichi (6)
Keyboard: Yessaï Karapetian (6)