that’s what jazz is all about

March 18th, Sevilla – concert by the Branford Marsalis quartet at the Teatro Lope de Vega, part of the European tour to promote their new album ‘The Secret between the Shadow and the Soul’. The show started, as the album does, with the Eric Revis composition ‘Dance of the evil toys’, a multifaceted piece that kind of stands for everything this band is about – powerful improvisations in a free space, but always with a focus on the melodic side of the songs. And despite some problems with his horns, a cab driver in Holland dropped them the day before, Branford and his band members Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Revis on bass and Justin Faulkner on drums, took off into jazzy spheres not many musicians have been. The dreamlike understanding between the 4 artists is astonishing, the challenges they throw at each other amazing and the reactions, if one of them plays something new and unexpected, rewarding for the performing musicians as well as for the audience. The quartet then played through the repertoire of the new album, touching the listener with the melodic and emotional beauty of the Joey Calderazzo ballad ‘Conversation among the ruins’, making everyone smile. Another highlight of the concert is their version of Keith Jarrett’s ‘The Windup’, a powerful and fast played composition in which all four musicians excel, but especially Calderazzo, whose solo brought cheers from his musical companions. A night, which ended with a wonderful version of W.C. Handy’s ‘St. Louis Blues’, was all what one would expect from a jazz concert … and so much more! This is probably one of the top three working bands in jazz around these days and whatever they perform it will always be the past and present of the music we call jazz, with an eye on the future and melody at its core. Early contenders for album and concert of the year!!

March 24th, Madrid – the Julian Lage Trio performing in town, presenting new music from the recently released and highly recommended album ‘Love Hurts’. As on the album the bass player in the trio is Jorge Roeder, a long-time musical companion of Julian, but whereas on the album the drums seat is occupied by Dave King, on tour it is Eric Doob delivering the beat. I have seen this trio before and think they have grown a lot as a unit, delivering guitarist Lage’s composition with understanding and a deeper sense for the melodies of their leader. They started the show with ‘Love Hurts’ the Nazareth hit from 1975 and continued to rock through Lage’s ‘Atlantic Limited’ to arrive at Ornette Coleman and some blues …. Lage and his impeccable sidemen played with power and emotional content and make the seemingly wild mix of songs work perfectly. I have been a fan of Julian for many years and believe he is by far the most interesting of all young guitar players, versatile, intelligent and full of emotions to share with his audience. If you get the chance – go and see him perform live, no matter what band he is playing with – he won’t disappoint!!

Jacques Loussier 1934 – 2019        The first of the Play Bach records was released on Decca in 1959 and my father was one of the many who bought it, plus the next three albums, released over a span of 4 years. These 4 Play Bach recordings were part of the soundtrack of my life then and have remained part of it until today. Loussier was kind of a pioneer in making Bach swing, one of the first to focus on his material in a jazzy way … something that should define his musical career. My father then in 1985 got the first digital recording of Loussier’s Best of Play Bach, then issued by Philips in 2 Volumes on CD. The swing, the beautiful melodies and the way Loussier made them work, stayed with me and I like occasionally to go back to these recordings and just listen, remembering my father’s love for this music and how it was always present to us.  Loussier created timeless recordings and many other generations of listeners will enjoy these. May he Rest In Peace.

Take Five 2019 and Sounds of Canada

The 14th edition of TAKE FIVE UK took place this year between February 23rd and March 2nd at the usual venue in England. Serious, the music production company that organises the event, picked 8 young and upcoming musicians to learn about the music business in all its aspects – from performance coaching, to finance, funding, marketing, legal and film making. All this loosened up by music sessions. I have since many years the honour to talk about the music business, labels, international career building etc. at these events and found this year a bunch of open and interested artists. The participants were:

Abel Selaocoe – cello and vocals

Cherise Adams-Burnett – vocals and flute

Chris Ryan – drums and vocals

Daniel Casimir – double bass and bass guitar

Emma-Jean Thackray – trumpet, vocals and electronics

Faye Maccalman – saxophone and clarinet

Jonathan Chung – saxophone

Sam Healey – saxophone and electronics

Most of these young artists are covering musically more than just jazz… from classical to world music and electronic music, there is everything here … no borders, all individually a way to express oneself. During the jam session I was lucky enough to be able to hear, they performed with a confidence betraying their young age and with some wonderful ideas .. they started the session with Roy Hargrove’s composition Strasbourg/St. Denis and let it flow and gave space to improvisations that enhanced the melody of this beautiful song. All eight musicians were carefully listening to each other, following an idea, letting the other go ahead to solo, still adding something to the overall sound and feel of the improvised piece. Lots of talent here and lots of acts to see how they will develop in the coming years … watch out for these musicians!!!  More Info about this you can find here:



Sounds of Canada:

Jim Brenan 11 – 50/50     February saw the release of the album 50/50 by composer, arranger and sax player Jim Brenan’s 11-piece band featuring Sean Craig, Mike Gardner and Sarah Matheson-Nadeau on saxes, Craig Brenan and Carsten Rubeling on trombones, Jim Murray and Sergio Rodriguez on trumpets, Chris Andrew on keyboards, Rubim De Toledo on bass, Jamie Cooper on drums and Raul Tabera on percussion. Great modern jazz compositions, wonderful ensemble play and individual Soli make this record worth checking out. Key tracks: Tigers Milk, Fant-O-Max and Jocasta.

Dave Young – Lotus Blossom       Veteran bass player Young releases Lotus Blossom with the help of wonderful pianist Renee Rosnes, Reg Schwager on guitar, Terry Clarke on drums, Bernie Senensky on piano, Kevin Turcotte on trumpet and Perry White on tenor sax. Especially the two tracks with Rosnes are noteworthy, as she plays perfectly and full of understanding of the composition, giving it additional emotional content. Schwager is a great player with wonderful sound and his Soli are throughout very beautiful. The other guests add much to the tracks they appearing on and together they overall have created a traditional jazz album of top quality.