it’s all music to me …

Myles Sanko, Soul singer, came to Madrid on October 13th for a sold-out show at the club Clamores and he and his band got the all standing audience going from the first song until deep into the night. Sanko has a beautiful voice, perfect for the grooves of his modern, but set in the tradition of the genre, soul and for the ballads he performs touchingly. The repertoire came from his catalogue of 3 albums, mostly from the recent release ‘Just Being Me’, and confirmed his incredible song writing skills. The band was perfect in supporting him, as only a band one is working with for a longer period, can be – intuitively knowing where the singer is going next. A powerful show, which had the audience singing along to his songs and the few, incredibly well-done, Soul covers! Myles Sanko is a singer I will surely try to see and hear for many more times to come.


The regular reader of this little blog will know how much I do like Madeleine Peyroux and her new album ‘Anthem’ in no exception – another collection of wonderful written and performed originals! On October 28th she presented these new songs, plus some of her older successes, in Madrid’s Auditorio Nacional with Aram Bajakian (guitar/voc), Andy Ezrin (keyboards/voc), Paul Frazier (bass/ voc) and Graham Hawthorne (drums/voc) to an attentive and thankful audience. Her phrasing is so unique and special and the band kept themselves in the background most of the time, to give the voice the ambience to shine. Outstanding her little solo medley – just her and her acoustic guitar doing a song in Spanish, then going into ‘J’ai Deux Amours’, before drifting into a Blues and a Spiritual … intimate, beautiful and touching. One of the most outstanding singers and song writers of our time!


The month for concerts ended with a show by pianist Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus fame and saxophonist Mark Turner, a member of the amazing FLY trio. The duo just had released their first album ‘Temporary Kings’ and are on tour in Europe to promote the album. This is an intimate musical communication between friends, performing standards like Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’ or ‘Chelsea Bridge’ on an extremely high musical level, powerful but as well full of emotions. Their own compositions for the duo are showing understanding and respect for each other and are touchingly beautiful. Both explore wisely the freedom the duo setting gives them and in the end the music and the audience are benefiting from that! Masters of their instruments not holding back!


R.I.P. Sonny Fortune. I discovered the amazing sax player via his 1974 release ‘Long Before Our Mothers Cried’ and the following two recordings ‘Awakening’ and ‘Waves of Dreams’, from 1975 and 1976 respectively. I enjoyed his Blue Note recordings of the 1990’s, as well as the 1994 album with Gary Bartz ‘Alto Memories’, released on Verve Records. A powerful player who will be surely missed.

Sonne Fortune

New music:

Wayne Shorter / Emanon – In times when everything goes to streaming platforms and packaging becomes less important, Wayne Shorter and his label Blue Note turned the world on its head: a 3-disc or 3 LP set issued with an 84-page illustrated novel, only available in this format and not digitally … and surprise, surprise: it sells! Deservedly so, as the music of the three discs is simply divine, whether it is performed by the Wayne Shorter Quartet (Wayne, Danilo Perez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade) or the quartet with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Shorter is not only one of the most prolific improvisers of our time, but as well an important composer and the set confirms these statements: the live discs from London show him and his incredible musicians explore the compositions with inventiveness and inspiration and stretching the songs into the unknown, before returning to the essence of the pieces; the orchestral recordings on the other hand focus on the composition, have a more fixed structure, which nevertheless gives Shorter space to improvise over the written parts. This is nothing less than a major musical statement by an artist without limits. Go and get it!


Paula Grande / SÓC – I really love the second album by Paula – it’s songs, vocal performances, the richness of styles mixed in a way only she can do, the use of language to enhance a song and the use of samples and sounds to create colours and grooves … but always recognisable as her!! Very impressive work! It starts perfectly with ‘Moving On’, showing already in that song that there are no boundaries for her and her music – different languages, grooves and sounds .. this is not jazz, not soul, not pop, but a mix of all of this and makes a lot of sense, as in ‘Ké Mundo’ with it sound bites and her singing, rapping and doubling up her voice … ‘Uno por’, ‘Quiero’ and ‘Me Interesa’ are other gems to check out. Not a boring second on that album.


Ant Law / Life I Know – for his 3rd album guitar player Law brought together some of the finest young British musicians: Mike Chillingworth on alto saxophone, Ivo Naeme on piano, Tom Farmer on bass and James Maddren on drums, as well as Tim Garland on soprano as a special guest on the closing track ‘Credits’. The compositions are Law’s statement of his art today and are drawing the listener to pay attention and therefore enjoy the richness of this music. Extremely well performed by all musicians with some incredible guitar work by Law. Ant Law is establishing himself as a major player in Europe and deservedly so.

Ant Law Life I Know - Packshot

There is a lot of great music coming out of Canada lately, or maybe it is just I know more about this extremely creative scene now. Some of the new releases getting hold of are ‘Fearless and Kind’ by the group Way North – jazz you can dance to by a group who put fun back into this music. Drummer Ethan Ardelli’s The Island of Form and Toronto big band Collective Order’s Vol. 3, a musical trip through the multicultural city. The most interesting album for me nevertheless is by the Montreal based band Lawful Citizen. Their ‘Internal Combustion’ is a wild and captivating mix of heavy guitars, powerful saxophones and a grooving rhythm section. Evan Shay on tenor sax, Aime Duquet on guitar, Antoine Pelegrin on electric bass and Kyle Hutchins on drums are behind this outstanding music, which successfully integrates jazz, metal, electronica and Americana into something new and definitely worth checking out.

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35 years …

October 15th 2018 – on this day 35 years ago I started my first job in the music industry at PolyGram in Vienna, Austria, being the # 2 of the small operation of their Import Music Service. I had run a jazz club in Vienna with some friends before that and started a jazz magazine with others as well, but this was the start of so far 35 incredibly rewarding years, working with artists and their music. After a few months I took over the little operation IMS and started to sign jazz labels for distribution in Austria – Gramavision for example and imported all the Fantasy, Milestone, Prestige, Riverside and Pablo recordings and with that made some good business and increased the turnover of the little operation. After I moved on to the pop division as a product manager for UK releases, I still kept an eye on the jazz world and was able to secure a deal with ECM for Austria as well. After a few years on the job, meanwhile heading the international product division, I was allowed to begin local jazz productions with Wolfgang Muthspiel, Wolfgang Puschnig, Linda Sharrock and the Vienna Art Orchestra, to name just a few, on the amadeo label. Puschnig’s ‘Pieces Of The Dream’ was the first of these to be made available internationally in 1988, followed by many others.

These productions obviously got the attention of our big bosses, who were planning to re-organize the global jazz structure and they offered me the job to do so. In 1992 I moved to London to co-ordinate the global PolyGram jazz activities and do the worldwide marketing and promotion for the big albums within the jazz world .. these releases coming mainly from the USA (Verve and Antilles), France (EmArCy) and Japan (jmt). It was like a dream – I met all my favourite jazz musicians, got to work with many of them and made a lot of friends. We marketed records by Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln, Shirley Horn, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, Roy Hargrove, Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall, Ornette Coleman, John Scofield, John McLaughlin, Randy Weston, David Sanborn, Dave Holland, George Benson and Michael Brecker among many others. When Universal bought PolyGram in 1998 I was asked to continue in my position as V.P, International Marketing for Classic and Jazz priorities, but added A&R for EmArCy records to my portfolio as we got less records from the US as the international markets needed to have the jazz operation run successfully – therefore I oversaw some local jazz activities and started to sign artists to EmArCy, the old mercury jazz label. John Scofield, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Madeleine Peyroux, Branford Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Michael Brecker, Michel Camilo, The Bad Plus, James Carter, Sonny Rollins, Terry Callier, Tuck & Patti, Randy Crawford & Joe Sample, Ketil Bjornstad and others were signed by me then, as well as youngsters Julian Lage and Gerald Clayton, whose first releases appeared on EmArCy in 2009. Artists signed to local Universal companies I worked with at that time include Maria Joao, Till Bronner, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Anna Maria Jopek, Bugge Wesseltoft and his Jazzland Recordings, Monday Michiru, Jef Neve, Karen Mok and Sergio Mendes among many more from various countries.



After leaving Universal in 2010 I set up All-In-Music-Service with my wife, as a consultancy for labels and artists and we started to book some artists in Europe, like Branford Marsalis, but that we only did until 2016. Since 2012 we are working for Sony Music’s classical division Masterworks. There I was asked to re-built the old OKeh imprint into a jazz label for today. In quick succession I was able to sign and release albums with John Medeski, Bill Frisell, Michel Camilo, Craig Handy, Dave Holland, Dhafer Youssef and Jeff Ballard. To make a point that OKeh was there to be taken seriously we released albums by young musicians such as Nir Felder, Somi, Theo Croker, James Brandon Lewis and Jo-Yu Chen and to show as well that we could attract major talent and have a roster covering all aspects of improvised music I signed and released albums by Sonny Rollins, Sergio Mendes, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Branford Marsalis, Kurt Elling, David Sanborn and Till Brönner.


Beside that I was involved in or oversaw local releases within the OKeh family by Kat Edmonson, The Bad Plus, Regina Carter, Nils Petter Molvaer, Robin McKelle, Silje Nergaard, Camille Bertault, Baptiste Trotignon, Mario Biondi, Stacey Kent, Rebekka Bakken, Hugh Coltman, Bria Skonberg, triosence, Markus Stockhausen, BamesreiterSchwartzOrchester, the Polish trio RGG and Sly & Robbie plus Nils Petter Molvaer.

The dream continues and while still looking for new talent and having some on a list as possible signings, the work with the musicians on the roster is as rewarding as it always has been. The artists I worked with directly and the albums they released gathered numerous awards around the world, including 4 Grammys, 1 Latin Grammy, 5 ECHO awards and top awards from France, Japan, Holland and many more countries. I am honoured to call some of these amazingly creative people my friends and I am aware of and grateful for the luck I had in life being able to make a job out of my passion for music and especially jazz. I am happy to share my experience and knowledge with young musicians in events like Take 5, the UK initiative for young jazz musicians, or the Montreux Academy, organised by the jazz festival of Montreux, Switzerland.

Thanks to all the musicians that made these 35 years very special indeed and here’s to a few more … see you hopefully at a festival or gig very soon!


a world full of sound

Having some friends in town for a visit, we decided to get some tickets for the concert of flamenco singer Sandra Carrasco with ‘El Amir’ John Haddad, the oud, bouzouki and guitar player of Radio Tarifa for many years. A match made in heaven – Carrasco sings in a traditional flamenco style, but doesn’t restrict her repertoire to songs from that genre only and El Amir is a versatile multi-instrumentalist, using sounds and loops to improve the soundscape of the performed composition. Together they created music of beauty and deep felt emotions, expressed through their instruments and enthusiastically taken on board by the audience in the small venue the AC Recoletos Hotel offers. A powerful performance by Sandra Carrasco with wonderful support by guitarist El Amir – magical moments indeed.


Recommended music from all around the globe:

Tal Arditi / Portrait – young Israeli guitarist Tal Arditi earlier this year released his debut album ‘Portrait’, a statement of were his art is at this point in time, a musical portrait one could say. Recorded live in Berlin’s hip A-Trane club it features Andreas Lang on bass and Tobias Backhaus on drums and is a strong first release from Tal. He has a clear, yet full and strong sound on his instrument and bass and drums are together and letting him fly and express himself in his compositions. Beautiful the solo intro to the track ‘Berlin Vibe’ (one of the outstanding compositions of the album,) which as well features a really good solo by the guitarist. One to watch!!!

Andres Vial / Sphereology, Vol. 1 – pianist Vial has studied Monk for many years and only now, for his fourth album, he decided to start working with the master’s material … and as Vol. 1 in the title of his new disc ‘Sphereology’ confirms, this is only the start. And what a beginning it is:  wonderful bands, featuring Peter Bernstein on guitar, Dezron Douglas on bass and Rodney Green on drums or Martin Heslop on bass and drummer Andre White, delving deep into Monks world. Beside Vial it is especially Bernstein who’s interpreting of Monks music stands out – some of his soli are outstanding and work extremely well with Vial’s piano approach of these tunes. Just checkout their duo of ‘Ask Me Now’ and one can hear their love and understanding of Monks composition. A highly recommended album with fantastic playing.  I hope Vol. 2 comes out soon!!

Lars Fiil / Frit Fald II – beside Danish composer and pianist Lars Fiil the trio Frit Fald features Lis Raabjerg Kruse on sax and nay flutes and Bjørn Heebøll on drums and together they create a beautiful soundscape of free improvisations on little melodies and grooves, intimate, flowing and open for the listener to dive in, find emotions, thoughts and questions. Performances are on top level, whether the music is more like a structured chamber music piece or free and intuitive. Challenging, but at the same time mostly lyrical music, which needs the listeners attention, but is extremely rewarding when getting it. Partly recorded live, partly in the studio, this is powerful and exciting music.







Piotr Schmidt / SaxesFul – Polish trumpeter Schmidt is building quite a following in his country and deservedly so. His new album ‘Saxesful’ is a tribute to the leading Polish sax players of today, featuring his heroes each on one track. The participating saxophonists are Henryk Miskiewicz, Jan Wroblewski, Zbigniew Namyloslowski, Maciej Sikala, Piotr Baron, Adam Wendt and Grzech Piotrowski. The repertoire is almost exclusively standards with the exception of two compositions by the quartet of Schmidt on trumpet, Woiciech Niedziela on piano, Maciej Garbowski on bass and Krzysztof Gradziuk on drums: one a beautiful Interlude and the other Song for Tomasz a fitting musical tribute to Tomasz Stanko. Schmidt and his band are keeping the songs together lead by the various sax players, which all are bringing fantastic performances to the album, as well as Schmidt, whose soli are very impressive and captivating. A record reminiscent of Roy Hargrove’s ‘With the Tenors of Our Time’ in terms of the tribute concept and quality. Classy!

Mike Lorenz, Robinson Morse, Kevin Ripley / speak between – the trio of guitarist Lorenz, bass player Morse and drummer Ripley is creating a free-flowing ambient jazz with lots of spaces for improvisations and interaction. As they state in the press text: “The idea behind speak between is a play on what it means to ‘read between the lines.’ In this case, we are ‘speaking between the lines,’ finding the sounds hidden inside what is on the page”. Creative and challenging music, top communication within the group, acting and re-acting to spontaneous created ideas based on the sparsely written music. Captivating!

Marie Goudy / The Bitter Suite – for a debut album, this is a very ambitious and powerful statement by Canadian composer and trumpeter Marie Goudy, who assembled an incredible group of musicians to record her first work: Goudy – Trumpet & Voice / Jocelyn Barth – Voice / Brad Eaton – Trumpet & Flugelhorn / Matt Woroshyl – Alto & Soprano Saxophones / John Nicholson – Tenor Saxophone & Voice / Conrad Gluch – Baritone Saxophone / Charlotte Alexander – French Horn / Paul Tarussov – Trombone / Zach Smith – Trombone / Chris Platt – Guitar / Josh Smiley – Piano / Alex Lakusta – Bass / Keagan Eskritt – Drums and Andrés Gándara – Vihuela. Goudy states as her influences Maria Schneider, Marty Paich and Kenny Wheeler and Mariachi music, something she was involved in for many years and the Suite is combining and using all these influences to create something unique and beautiful. The Bitter Suite is the telling of a love story through the seasons and Goudy uses her 11 companions perfectly – creating the right atmospheres for the various stages of the love story, drawing from the colourful arrangements of her music. A promising start for the very talented Marie Goudy!







And finally – go and watch the new Netflix documentary QUINCY, which is an interesting and touching portrait of a great music man and human being! Quincy Jones is by any means one of the most important music creators, producers, writers of our time and the docu tells the story and portraits the essence of the man perfectly. I had the pleasure to meet Quincy Jones in the early 2000’s in Montreux once and thanks to the late Claude Nobs got to talk to him for a bit … about music of course .. jazz, the EmArCy label especially, as he was their A&R in the 50’s and I was kind of running it at the time we met … a really nice man, open and ready to talk, to listen and still showing great passion for music … and all that is manifested throughout his career, as the documentary perfectly shows. A must see!