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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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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