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Roland Kirk: Here Comes The Whistleman

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This December, it will be thirty-nine years since Rahsaan Roland Kirk split the scene for good. He was forty-one and about two-thirds of that short life span had been spent as a professional musician. He might not have been around long but he left behind a powerful legacy that may have no parallel in jazz or any other modern music. He might not have courted controversy but somehow it kept finding him. For some critics and musicians, he ...


The Ganelin Trio: Creative Tensions

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Imagine a time, not so very long ago, when a foreign Jazz/Improvising Trio created such a stir in Britain that they made the TV news! Imagine the national newspapers queuing round the block for interviews. And imagine London's Bloomsbury Theatre filled with musicians, journalists and arts administrators--not to mention the odd, very odd, raincoated spook. That noise was the Ganelin Trio in 1984 on their first visit to these shores, from Russia with love. All that noise left ...


Paul Winter Sextet: Count Me In

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The Paul Winter Sextet might just be one of the best early sixties groups you never heard. Their story, and that of their leader and altoist Paul Winter's, is certainly one of the most remarkable in jazz. Had some director made a film of the Sextet's short life, jazz buffs would have scoffed at the conceit. But it happened, man. It happened. A few years ago, Winter released Count Me In on his own Earth Music label. It's ...


The Giant Legacy of Rudy Van Gelder

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Recording Engineer Rudy Van Gelder died at home of natural causes on August 25th at the age of 91. His legacy--and it's a big one--is the countless recordings he made during modern jazz's greatest period of innovation. Almost any jazz musician of note who was making records--especially if they were working on the east coast--was captured at some point with Van Gelder at the controls. Be-boppers, hard-boppers, post-boppers, soul jazz, free jazz, fusion--pick a sub category. If you want to ...


Claude Nobs: We All Came Out To Montreux...

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Montreux Jazz Festival is fifty. It's a significant milestone and cause for celebration. No doubt there will be an added festive element to this year's edition of the festival, founded by Claude Nobs--along with pianist Géo Voumard and writer René Langel--in 1967. Yet for many, the celebrations will be tinged with sadness due to the absence of Nobs, who died in a skiing accident in 2013. Nobs may have passed, but his legend, his spirit, lives on, in the festival ...


David S. Ware and the Wisdom of Uncertainty

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Every record label needs a beginning, a first release, but it is seldom that the initial release is a masterpiece. However, this is the case with Wisdom of Uncertainty, saxophonist David S. Ware's album from 1997, which was the inaugural release of Steven Joerg's AUM Fidelity imprint. The name of the label is inspired by Charles Mingus' iconic album Mingus Ah Um. Referencing one of the all-time classics in jazz history, Joerg set the bar high for ...


Billy Jenkins Turns Sixty

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On 5 July 2016 guitarist, composer, vocalist and philosopher Billy Jenkins hits the Big Six-O. It only seems five minutes ago that Jenkins played at the Purcell Room during 2010's London Jazz Festival, accompanied by the BBC Big Band to a suitably enraptured audience. He's been gigging and recording less in the past five years. His album Jazz Gives Me The Blues (VOTP VOCD 1167) was released in 2011 and Billy became an Accredited Humanist Celebrant approved by the British ...


Fahir Atakoglu: Istanbul Blues

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The history of jazz has been one of fusion. Its musicians and composers have continually drawn upon a huge range of different musics to create the rich and diverse tapestry that is world jazz today. Jazz is an evolving tradition of music-making. And how often, in the life stories of individual jazz musicians, do we see these same patterns operating at microcosm? When it comes to the music of Turkish-born pianist-composer Fahir Atakoglu, we might define it broadly ...

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