Articles by Duncan Heining

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Mônica Vasconcelos: Brazil Songs of Resistance

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A tanned, beautiful young woman in a skimpy bikini walks through the lapping sea waters on the edge of a sun-soaked beach. Soft music plays, its shifting beat following her footsteps. It's a cliché, of course, but a powerful one when it comes to thoughts (male, mainly) of Brazil and its music. UK-based Brazilian singer Mônica Vasconcelos' new record, The São Paulo Tapes-- Brazilian Resistance Songs tells a different tale. It may not shatter the fantasy but those ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra: GIO Sevens

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Back in the 60s, there was a pop show on British TV called Thank Your Lucky Stars. It featured a “spin-a-disc" segment, where a DJ and three teenagers scored a clutch of 45s on a scale of one to five. One of these was a girl from the West Midlands called Janice Nicholls, who delighted audiences with her enthusiastic endorsements delivered in a Black Country accent--"Oi'll give it foive!." What the hell has this got to do with GIO Sevens ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Raymond MacDonald & Graeme Wilson: A Cast of Thousands

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Raymond MacDonald and Graeme Wilson are two of the leading figures in the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. The music on Cast Of Thousands may be freely improvised but the emphasis here seems very much upon structure and form. One suspects that MacDonald and Wilson's lengthy experience playing together allows each man to trust the other and that it is this that gives A Cast Of Thousands its sense of completeness and coherence. Mutual awareness and communication are key to the record's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lol Coxhill & Raymond MacDonald: Morphometry

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Glorious, custard-coloured vinyl, a charming and witty woodcut by artist Ian Barrett (Syd's nephew) on the cover and ten duos featuring saxophonists Lol Coxhill and Raymond MacDonald--what's not to like? My first sightings/hearings of the legend that was Lol took place in my mid-teens. Crossing Hungerford Bridge en route to the South Bank for a concert or else to Waterloo Station to get the last train home, there was Lol improvising to the sound of trains or following his own ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alan Skidmore: After The Rain

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In 1998, with After The Rain British saxophonist Alan Skidmore got to achieve a lifetime ambition to record this beautiful 'jazz with strings' album. Out of print for some time, its reissue is well overdue. It was once a cliché in the jazz world amongst critics that records such as this represented a descent into the depths of middle-brow hell. The one exception, they would allow was Stan Getz' Focus with Eddie Sauter's gorgeously Bartokian string arrangements. Like most critical ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Neil Ardley & the New Jazz Orchestra: On The Radio: BBC Sessions 1971

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Neil Ardley was a truly remarkable individual. As well as his work in jazz as a composer/band-leader/arranger, Neil was a scientific author with 101 books to his name, which sold over 10 million copies. I spoke to him once but, sadly, Ardley had died by the time I commenced work on my book on British jazz, Trad Dads, Dirty Boppers and Free Fusioneers. While I covered his work with the New Jazz Orchestra, there was much more to be said. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Martin Archer: Story Tellers

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We used to call records like this 'concept albums.' The whole idea soon became a term of derision thanks to Rick Wakeman and others. Nevertheless, let's stick with it for a moment. Martin Archer's Story Tellers is constructed as a series of interlocking vignettes, linked both by certain recurring themes, narrative threads and the attribution of certain functional roles to each of these six musicians. In that sense, you have here what can usefully be seen and heard as a ...

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Grand Union Orchestra at Wilton's Music Hall

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Grand Union Orchestra Wilton's Music Hall London June 14, 2017 Song of Contagion, Grand Union Orchestra's latest show, would be a strange subject indeed for any other ensemble. But for leader/composer Tony Haynes and his comrades, it sits perfectly within the orchestra's progressive dialogue between the musics and diverse histories of this small planet. Emerging from a conversation between Haynes and epidemiologist Elizabeth Pisani, Song of Contagion is about disease. ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mike Westbrook at Bury St. Edmunds Festival

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Mike Westbrook and Kate Westbrook Bury St. Edmunds Festival The Church of St. John the Evangelist May 19, 2017 Of all his many achievements, Mike Westbrook's The Westbrook Blake is one of his finest. Few works in jazz have combined music and text, voices and instrumentation, to such profound effect. The settings here of William Blake's prophetic and yet earthly revelations -by Kate Westbrook and the late British poet and revolutionary Adrian Mitchell -have a ...


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