Ornette Coleman's MeltdownLondonJune 12-21, 2009
Ever since it was announced in late March that Ornette Coleman was to curate the 2009 Meltdown festival at the South Bank, Coleman seemed to dominate the capital. The festival's trademark image (shown below) of a young Coleman soulfully eyeballing the camera was everywhere, on larger-than-life posters in the London underground, in adverts in papers and magazines, on flyers and handbills, and online. It was mesmerising and inescapable. But ...read more
Historically, the London jazz scene has played an important part in the growth of the music and its appreciation although most of that importance has to do with English performers and writers and less with jazz venues. For decades, when you went to London, you thought of only one club--Ronnie Scott's. And even though there are several new boites about the city, a recent visit revealed that, despite the new establishments, very few Londoners and visitors out for a jazz ...read more
Freedom of the City, the annual festival of radical and improvised music curated by Evan Parker, Eddie Prévost and Martin Davidson, returns over the May Bank holiday weekend, at the Red Rose club in Finsbury Park, north London. As in recent years, the music will be provided by an exciting mix of familiar favourites, lesser known London-based players and visiting musicians. No booking required...
Sunday, May 6th, 4pm:
Eddie Prévost (percussion), Joe Williamson (double bass), Alan Wilkinson (alto & baritone ...read more
Now that autumn is here, the London Jazz Festival can't be far behind. This year, the LJF runs from Friday 10th November until Sunday 19th November. In those ten days, the festival will include its usual mix of jazz superstars and legends, rising stars, crowd pleasers, cult heroes, great freebies, plus--with nearly twenty gigs on some days--a large slice of frustration that one cannot be in two (or more) places at once. Birthday celebrations abound this year--Dave Holland's 60th, Mike ...read more
Since London Calling last appeared, we have all been saddened by the deaths of Derek Bailey and Elton Dean. Both leave behind a huge legacy ... and a vast unfillable gap. Anyone who has ever experienced their music knows that they will not be forgotten.
Freedom of the City 2006
For lovers of radical and improvised music (or even for the mildly curious), Freedom of the City is one of the highlights of the ...read more
May was a month of celebration across the capital, largely because of success on the football field. But there were also some notable musical highlights. Here is a précis of the month.
Sunday 1st: Red Rose Club
Freedom of the City Festival
For financial reasons, this year's festival was reduced to only one day and moved from its perennial venue, Conway Hall. Nonetheless, it was an excellent day. It deliberately featured groupings that had ...read more
Index Stan Tracey Interview Freedom of the City Festival 2005 Ornette Coleman at 75 New Vortex Opens in May
Often referred to as the Godfather of British jazz, Stan Tracey has had an illustrious career in music spanning over sixty years. Despite his status, Tracey is surprisingly modest, even self deprecating about his achievements, happy to leave it to others to analyse and praise his work. He recently released an album of free playing in a duo with ...read more
The history of jazz in the UK is a fascinating but tortuous affair, involving factionalism, class conflict, rejuvenation from immigration, youth revolt, social upheaval, decline, survival and revival. Between now and mid-February, there is an ideal opportunity to embark on an intensive crash course in many aspects of jazz in the UK, both live and on TV.
Remarkably (given how rarely jazz is given any airtime on television), cable TV channel BBC Four is the main focus of a season ...read more