Kind of ….

Blue – too many great jazz musicians have passed away this year, leaving a huge empty space, which just got bigger with the news that Kenny Wheeler (1930-2014) and Mandolin maestro U Srinivas have both passed away as well in the last few days. Wheeler, a great composer with a beautiful tone, has left many great recordings on ECM and Srinivas surprised the music world with his magic as a member of Remember Shakti with John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain.

True – we went on September 15th to the celebration of Independence of Mexico in Madrid’s Teatros del Canal – main attraction was Magos Herrera, first singing in the duo with guitarist Javier Limon and then with her Spanish group featuring Ivan ‘Melon’ Lewis on piano, Reiner Elizarde Ruano on bass and Georvis Pico Milian on drums. While the duo is a very intimate affair and focuses more on her than on a Javier Limon who perfectly supports her, giving the one or other little twist in the way he plays to guide her in a different direction within a song, the group gives her more freedom the relax and let the focus wander somewhere else and so they are creating a loose structure in which she can scat and improvise, building a beautiful and captivating atmosphere. She stuck truly to her musical world and I thoroughly enjoyed this set, but it was a bit lost at the audience, which came to see what followed: a typical Mexican Mariachi band, songs they could sing along to and celebrate Mexico.

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New – a few tips of things I heard or saw or read:

GoGo Penguin, a British piano trio, cool and modern, powerful and mysterious … their new album v2.0 has just be nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize in the UK … check out their latest video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVTyOp2GTv8

Pablo Martin Caminero, whose previous album El Caminero was a truly great recording of flamenco/jazz has a new album coming out very soon: O.F.N.I.- Objeto Flamenco No Identificado, which translates as UFO – Unidentified Flamenco Object. You can watch one of the new tracks via below link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dt0VnSEd53g

1.000 Times Good Night – a movie by Erik Poppe with a brilliant Juliette Binoche. Poppe relies on his own experiences as a war photographer in this tale of passion and choices to be made in life. Absolutely a Must-See!!!

Jonas Jonasson, The Girl who saved the King of Sweden – another funny and almost slapstick style written novel by the successful Swedish author – a book that tells the story of someone supposedly unimportant having a big impact on many lives … Beautiful!

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Joe Sample 1939 – 2014

I first met Joe in 2006, when we were preparing the release of the album he recorded with Randy Crawford ‘Feeling Good’ and they came to London to record an EPK. And then we met various times over the years, as after that I released on Emarcy their follow-up album ‘No Regrets’ and saw them a few times while touring that album around Europe … and had some unforgettable dinners in London at Fishworks in Marylebone, with great food, good wine and all the stories a life as a musician brings.

He enjoyed the food in that place so much, that I at the end of one of the dinners bought him the Fishworks Cookbook … and that was as well the place where we introduced him to the Spanish white wine Albarino and the Spanish Orujo, which is a form of Grappa from there. He simply loved to discover the good things in life.

Joe was always smiling, enjoying life and searching for more and new music inside him. A great sense of humour and a remarkable talent for telling stories made him the perfect companion … and then there was his music. Most people will remember him for the work with the Crusaders and the hits he wrote: from Street Life via One Day I’ll Fly Away to Rainbow Seeker and many others, but his trio recordings, like the Sonet album Fancy Dance or The Three with Ray Brown and Shelly Manne are definitely worth listening to, as is the beautiful solo album Soul Shadows.

Joe was also a highly requested studio musician, having recorded as well on the following albums: Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark” and “The Hissing of Summer Lawns,” Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer,” Steely Dan’s “Aja” and “Gaucho,” and on a few recordings by B. B. King.

2012 saw his last two recordings coming out in Europe – LIVE, a great concert recording with Randy Crawford, Joe’s son Nicklas on bass and Steve Gadd and ‘Children of the Sun’, an outstanding recording with the NDR Big Band performing his music and Joe on piano and keyboards – worth checking out.

Rest In Peace.

Joe Sample By Rainer Rygalyk

Photo by Rainer Rygalyk