The Australian jazz--improv--jam trio The Necks has been active for quarter century. Consisting of drummer Tony Buck, bassist Lloyd Swanton and keyboardist Chris Abrahams, The Necks' members are all seasoned jazzers who approach the trio's music rather differently. Drawing inspiration from electronica, systems music and rock, the Necks have reshaped the role of the jazz keyboard thus improvising with textures and space rather than just notes and chords. Characteristically, their performances are lengthy and their records often consist of one long composition. The trio is touring Europe and one of the places on their stops was the Skopje Jazz Festival. ...read more
Norwegian saxophonist Hanna Paulsberg founded the HPC in 2011, whislt studying at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Her quartet's debut, Waltz for Lilli (Ora Fonogram, 2012) announced a notable talent, one conversant in the North American swing tradition as well as influences closer to home. The concept, perhaps, was not new, but the reviews were universally positive. Since then, Paulsberg has been busy leading the HPC and touring with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, which collaborated with Marius Neset on the pulsating Lion (ACT Music, 2014). With the wind in her sails, Paulsberg's second quartet outing follows ...read more
The Necks Cafe Oto London October 8, 2014 It is always a good sign when the imposing windows of Cafe Oto are misted up. If one could see through the condensation, if one could, with just one finger, remove the minuscule droplets amassed on the vertical plains, one would almost invariably spot fine music in the making. A woman, glass of red wine in hand, explains to her neighbour that, yes, this is jazz, but no, this is not like any other jazz. And that, after all, one never knows what to ...read more
Groove Or Die. So says Paul Jackson, bassist extraordinaire. It's clear that the decision isn't one that's troubled Jackson, or fellow band members Xantoné Blacq and French percussionist Tony Match, for too long--this album is all about the groove. Or, to be more specific, the grooves. Jackson has been a first-call bassist for many years--a founding member of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, a member of the rhythm sections of luminaries such as Stevie Wonder and George Benson. The trio is a relatively new combo, however: Groove Or Die is its debut recording. The bassist establishes his manifesto ...read more
It's a bold concept; take Pink Floyd's iconic Dark Side of the Moon (Harvest, 1973) and reinterpret it in a big band jazz setting. With upwards of forty million copies sold, every note, every nuance of Floyd's eighth album is so firmly entrenched in the minds of the band's legion devotees that to tamper with the work in any way is to leave oneself open to facile criticism. French-Vietnamese guitarist Nguyên Lê, however, is nothing if not adventurous. Lê has already demonstrated on Purple: Celebrating Jimi Hendrix (ACT Music, 2007) and Songs of Freedom (ACT Music, 2012)--his tribute ...read more
The packaging starts you thinking. There's a painting showing what looks like ectoplasm, or perhaps a space alien, playing two musical instruments at the same time, like Roland Kirk used to do. Then the cunning addition of an apostrophe in the Trios of the title, to render it meaningless, or perhaps abstract. Inside there's a selfie shot from low down of a bearded Thomas Hass looking God-like and grim, alongside text explaining his music: Trio's & Beyond is a musical concept where I can experience the 'spontaneous combustion' in various musical settings and explore the trio format ...read more
There's a richness, a depth, a density to his varied charts. And the soloists and ensemble passages inside those charts! Such has always been the case with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, then, and now. For real, gliding from the spirit of Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, this edition of the VJO now embraces another one of its own: trombonist/composer/arranger/pianist Bob Brookmeyer, with Over Time: Music Of Bob Brookmeyer. And what different sound comes from this grand aggregate of 16, plus three on selected tracks. The richness heard in all those chromaticlasmatic (new word) and hard-charging charts of Jones,' ...read more
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