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Nat Birchall

Saxophonist Nat Birchall has always been something of an enigma, a sublimely soulful saxophonist hidden from view in the Northern hills of England. His debut album Sixth Sense (1999) first announced him to the jazz world as an urgent tenor saxophonist with a feel for pulsing modal hard-bop. But it was his cult hit and now highly sought after soulful slice of spiritual jazz Akhenaten (released on trumpeter Matthew Halsall’s label, Gondwana Records, in 2009) that suggested that the spirit of Coltrane was alive and well in Northern England. Acclaimed by the critics (MOJO for one hailing its ‘spacial sunship beauty’ and ‘lyrical heat haze hypnotism’) Akhenaten together with Halsall’s own releases ‘Sending My Love’ and ‘Colour Yes’ helped create the unique sound that the Independent On Sunday described as ‘rain soaked spiritual jazz from Manchester”. Growing up in a Northern Village, Birchall was hardly exposed to jazz but through some friends fell in love with roots reggae and dub in the early ‘70s and it was the legendary Jamaican jazz-influenced saxophonists, Cedric Brooks, Tommy McCook, that inspired him take up the saxophone and through them that he discovered the music of John Coltrane

Exaltation: Live In Athens Vol 1

Label: Parafono
Released: 2020
Track listing: Side One: For Michalis. Side Two: Exaltation; Humility.

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Matthew Halsall: A New Dawn

Read "Matthew Halsall: A New Dawn" reviewed by Chris May

After five years without the release of any newly recorded material, the British trumpeter and composer Matthew Halsall has returned in winter 2020 with a fresh new band and a sparkling new album, Salute To The Sun, on his Gondwana Records label. It is more than good to have him and his music back.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Matthew Halsall: Salute To The Sun

Read "Salute To The Sun" reviewed by Chris May

Trumpeter and composer Matthew Halsall is an inspirational figure on the British scene, as a musician and as the founder of the successful Gondwana Records label. Based in the northern city of Manchester, two hundred miles and a lifestyle away from London, Halsall debuted in 2008 with Sending My Love, on which he unveiled his distinctive ...

The Storyteller: A Musical Tribute To Yusef Lateef

Label: Jazzman Records
Released: 2019
Track listing: Tales Of Saba; Ching Miau; Love Theme From Spartacus; Mashariki; Morning; Ringo Oiwake; Brother John; Willow’s Walk; Not Yet Ornette; Inward Flight; Salaam Brother Yusef.

Obeah Man

Label: Jazzman Records
Released: 2019
Track listing: A Side: Obeah Man. B Side: Seeking.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Matthew Halsall: Oneness

Read "Oneness" reviewed by Don Phipps

On Oneness, trumpeter and composer Matthew Halsall has fashioned a compendium of pieces that are fixed between spiritual meditative repose and poetry in motion. The collection of seven tone poems was recorded over three sessions in 2008 and are only in 2019 being released. In the liner notes, Halsall explains: “I've always treasured these recordings and ...

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

Chris May's Best Releases of 2019

Read "Chris May's Best Releases of 2019" reviewed by Chris May

The world may be going to hell in a handcart, but the year has been full of uplifting jazz. Here are ten of the best albums--the first seven newly recorded, the final three reissued or recently unearthed. Each one is the coyote's cojones. Yazz Ahmed Polyhymnia Ropeadope The eagerly ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Junius Paul, Piero Bittolo Bon, Avishai Cohen & Other New Releases

Read "Junius Paul, Piero Bittolo Bon, Avishai Cohen & Other New Releases" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

In the second part of this week's episode we continue our exploration of new and upcoming releases with two smash albums, a stunner from Piero Bittolo Bon's Bread and Fox and the debut album by Chicago bassist Junius Paul. During the rest of the show we feature Nat Birchall's tribute to Yusef Lateef and music ranging ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Nat Birchall: The Storyteller: A Musical Tribute To Yusef Lateef

Read "The Storyteller: A Musical Tribute To Yusef Lateef" reviewed by Chris May

The deification of Yusef Lateef, which began only after his passing in 2013, rests on the first decade of his long recording career, from 1957—1967, when he extended the language of jazz to include elements of Asian and Middle Eastern musics while recording for Savoy, Prestige and Impulse. After a second decade with Atlantic, where he ...


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