Kinfolk

Nate Smith is a jazz drummer of the highest quality. In fact, many consider him to be the best in the world ( something Mark Guiliana might like to dispute) His album ‘Kinfolk: Postcards from Everywhere’ is a superbly accessible album that exists in the land where Pop meets jazz. One of the standout tracks …

Heaven on Earth

There seems to be a bit of jazz revival going on at the moment. In America Kamasi Washington is crossing over into the pop/rock world while in London for the last few years there’s been a growing number of Jazz artists like Bill Laurance, Matthew Halsall, Jacob Collier, Moses Boyd, and Shabaka Hutchings. Here is …

Choose Heroin, Choose Life.

The message of the Chet Baker biopic ‘Born to be Blue’ is not perhaps as romantic as his music. It amounts to this. When given the choice between the devoted love of a good woman and a trumpet and a boatload of heroin, go for the latter. This perhaps surprising conclusion is at the very …

Antonio Sanchez. The Unexpected Virtue of Jazz

There have been a series of films over the last couple of years that have had their soundtracks performed live by their composers in New York, ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ and ‘There Will be Blood’ to name but two. Birdman is the latest to be given the honor with Anthony Sanchez doing the honors …

Sketches of Spain

Jazz and flamenco? Do they really go together? On the face of it the idea seems vaguely preposterous and the results potentially heinous. But in reality it turns out they’re made for each other. Well certainly if the album ‘Jazz Flamenco’ is anything to go by. Spanish Jazzman Pedro Iturralde is behind the double album, …

Le Pas du Chat Noir

ECM is a label responsible for some of Europe’s finest jazz recordings. Often more reflective and moody than barnstorming, it’s a place I’ve often checked for more mellow introspective sounds. One of my recent discoveries is the Tunisian Oud player Anouar Brahem. His album ‘Le pas du chat noir’ is one of the more haunting …

Gregory Porter at Town Hall, NYC

It’s a long time since I enjoyed a concert as thoroughly as I enjoyed Gregory Porter at Town Hall. His charisma is undeniable and his voice is unsurpassable. He even found time in between blowing the roof off with the power of his voice to allow a fan to propose to his girlfriend. Something neither …

Cool Note

No matter how many times I look at them I’m always left with the feeling that there is nothing cooler than a Blue Note album cover. Even though they are now over 50 years old in many cases, you could still use the same look and style today and come across as totally fresh. With …

Ahmad Jamal

I would be highly pleased if I was still alive at 83 let alone creating innovative Jazz records like pianist Ahmad Jamal. Last year the octogenarian produced ‘Saturday Morning’ an album, which followed 2012’s highly praised ‘Blue Moon’. Described by critic Stanley Crouch as second in importance after Charlie Parker in the development of Jazz …

Taming the Dragon

You know you like something when you’re prepared to brave sub-zero temperatures and snow-covered ground in order to see it. Of course there’s always the risk that you might turn up and find it doesn’t live up to your expectations but in the case of my recent winter night visit to the Highline Ballroom to …