(PRA Records PRA-CD-61014)
In 1995 the former Crusader pianist played a festival at St Croix in
the Virgin Islands. He was struck by the contrast between the tranquil
setting and the brutal history of the place on the slave route. This
suite of songs is the result.
A project which features not only Sample’s piano but also the
drumming of Steve Gadd and the trombone-playing and production of Nils
Landgren was never going to be a bleak affair; instead Sample and his
cohorts stress the triumph of light over darkness, life over death.
The results are joyous and exuberant, the marvellous German big band
bold and blustery, the soloists flying along on their trade winds. From
the opening groove set down by Gadd and the piano riff Sample adds we
know we’re in for a fine time, and when the full band adds its strongly
swinging sections – the arrangements are by Jörg Achim Keller – the
whole thing takes on a great big sunny glow.
The track titles – Buttermilk Sky, Rumfire, Gold In The Cane, Creole Eyes – say it all.
Joe Sample died last September, so this 2011 recording stands as a
fitting reminder of his marvellous mix of jazz, blues, R&B and that
inimitable “gulf coast funk”.
In an era where the main "jazz and Blues festival" here is content to boast of Mariah Carey as principal draw, its heartening to learn that Haiti has its own jazz fest, happening from jan 17-24, and that the line-up is in fact, quite credible and attractive from a jazz fan's standpoint:
Yellowjackets and local legends Boukman Ekspereyans are included this year, while previous outings have featured renowned players such as Mino Cinelu, Henry Texier, and American pianist Aaron Goldberg.
Names of no meaning to all but a handful of Jamaicans, but to those who know and love the form, a good recommendation to make the trip to Port au Prince (which, capital to capital, is actually closer to Kingston than Havana.) For eight days, Port-au-Prince swings with jazz rhythms. The Festival participants pour into historic public spaces of the capital, such as the historic Sugar Cane Park with its gardens and vestiges from the colonial era, the gardens of the prestigious Karibe Hotel, and the FOKAL Cultural Center located in the heart of Port-au-Prince. For the after hours jam sessions, festival-goers fill the most attractive restaurants of Pétion-Ville, the nightlife neighborhood of the capital.
To achieve its mission to promote music and especially jazz around the country, the Fondation Haiti Jazz - the Festival's primary organizers - offers free music training workshops to young, local musicians in collaboration with the participating international music professionals.
It was inevitable that we'd hear more from the meeting between pianist Roberto Magris and the late Herb Geller - the first recorded collaboration was 2009's "Il Bello Di Jazz" on Soul Note.
Now, through his American-based label JMood Records, the ever-resourceful Magris has released a continuation of that delightful output
American-born and coming of age just at the time when bebop was reaching its peak, Geller not only beat the "Bird trap"(he admits to being influenced, but not a copy of, alto sax great Benny Carter) but also, partly by virtue of moving to Germany, managed to developed a wholly personal sound not beholden to any of the US titans who would star on the alto horn during the post-War period
Its a sinuous yet sturdy sound, neatly modulated, but without being clinical, essentially capable of anything Magris' lush, ebullient yet similarly well-ordered pianisms
The supporting cast definitely makes their presence felt on this record, especially drummer Enzo Carpentieri who alternate scorches and soothes with tremendous gusto throughout the disc. Prie examples: the Zoot Sims classic, "The Red Door" and a staple pf the Basie Orchestra "9:20 Special"
The high point comes fairly early on with "Lonely Woman" (the Benny Carter tune, not the Ornette Coleman nor the Horace Silver tunes of the same title), although the Sondheim piece, "Pretty Woman", which closes the disc also comes close in terms of effect.
I guess one can never underestimate the power of a woman to move the energies of men.
Whatever their muse, this is a first-class session that only stands as a worthy tribute to an unsung jazz titan, but pretty much makes a statement on its own musical merits. If you want jazz that stirs, seduces, skips and kicks in equal good measure, this is your ticket.
Herb Geller, rest well. Magris & Co, - onward to greater.
This column has tended to have good fortune with Italian pianists. We have had the pleasure of featuring several excellent albums by Robert Magris, and now we have a pair from Dino Massa: Anime Diverse - a quartet date, and Un Po Come Noi, a trio outing.
It’s a tribute to the legendary Jamaican double bassist, Coleridge Goode, who celebrates his100th
the end of this month (29th). The occasion will be marked by a
concert combining live music,conversations,literary
Gary Crosby(left) with Coleridge Goode
Joining Crosby on stage
will be Byron Wallen(trumpet), Aleksandra Topczewska(alto sax), Omar Puente(violin), Alex Ho(piano), Shirley Tetteh(guitar),
and Moses Boyd(drums), and a panel of guest speakers
including the beautiful vocalist ElaineDelmar,
broadcaster and jazz historianAlyn Shipton,
saxophonist Denys Baptiste, biographer Roger Cotterrell, and Goode family
friend Colleen McIntyre. The speakers will offer insight into Coleridge’s career and, sharing
personal memories, shine a light on a life in jazz that began a few
months after the outbreak of the First World War.Chairing the panel, and
weaving it all together will be journalist and broadcasterKevin Le Gendre.
addition to his contribution as a player, Coleridge is credited as the
person who came up with the idea of the double bass pickup to amplify the sound
of the instrument, marking a major development in the evolution of bass
Crosby first met Coleridge in Earl’s Court around 1980 when he was working in a West
African restaurant across the road from a club where he used to play.
He describes the bass man as incredibly generous towards us younger musicians, always happy to share
information on the history of jazz in Britain. He was especially excited about
his work with the great Joe Harriott – "Coleridge is the last surviving member
of Harriott’s innovative Quintet – and my conversations with him
inspired me to conceive a concert in tribute to the saxophonist as part of
the London Jazz Festival some years ago."
"Do come along toColeridge Goode: A
Celebration on Friday
join me in celebrating the 100th birthday of the consummate Lord Of The Lower Frequencies. Sadly,
he is now too frail to attend in person, but we hope to record the
concert for Coleridge so he can enjoy listening back to it when we celebrate
with him on his birthday. And guess what? Though age may
have forced him to lay down his bass, you can still hear
him scatting along to music whenever it gets to the bass solo!"
The Havana International Jazz Festival (Cuba Jazz
Festival) was born in 1978 when Bobby Carcasses, and other well known
Cuban Jazz musicians, presented the first Jazz concert at the Casa de la Cultura de Plaza
in downtown Havana. This is the origin of the title 'International Jazz
Festival Plaza' because it finds its birth in this open-air venue. The Casa de la Cultura de Plaza
hall, with its pleasant intimate outdoor terrace, is still one of the
places where concerts and jam sessions take place. Based on this
success, another Jazz festival was organized the following year,
featuring pianist Chucho Valdes. Renowned artists such as Dizzy
Gillespie, Max Roach, Charlie Haden, Roy Hargrove, Jack DeJohnette,
Danilo Perez became part of the Havana scene on a regular basis.
In 1996 Chucho Valdes became artistic director of the Havana
International Jazz Plaza Festival and president of the Organizing
Committee with Alexis Vazquez Aguilera as the vice president. The
festival has since expanded to include all the main concert halls in
downtown Havana, not to mention impromptu street jam sessions along the
Among the 2013 performing artists were Chucho
Valdes, Arthur O'Farrill, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Bobby Carcasses, Roberto
Fonseca, Harold Lopez-Nussa, Jorge Reyes, Yasek Manzano and the Cords
Quartet, Naat Berahman, Michel Herrera, Ernan Lopez-Nussa, Klimax,
Orlando Sanchez, Bellita y Jazztumbata, Emilio Morales, William Roblejo,
Alfred Thompson, Habana d' Primera, Mezcla, Jesus Fuentes y Santo Tomas
Conection, Oscar Valdes y Diakara, Ruy Lopez-Nussa, Cesar Lopez y
Habana Ensemble, Rolando Luna, Javier Salva, Aire de Concierto, Emir
Santa Cruz, Jorge Luis Pacheco, Sexto Sentido, Alejandro Falcon y
Cubadentro, Ernesto Camilo Vega, Ta Bueno Jazz, Gala Mayor, Habana Sax
and other Cuban Jazz musicians including Alexis Bosch y Proyecto de Jazz
Cubano, Frank Fernandez and the Jazz Band conducted by Maestro Joaquin
Betancourt, the National Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Maestro
Enrique Perez Mesa, the Entrevoces Choir conducted by Digna Guerra and
the Troy University Jazz Ensemble from the USA. The 2014 artist line-up
will be announced very soon.
Travel form Jamaica to The 30th Annual Havana Jazz Festival can be arranged through Caribbean and Latin Travel Consultants Limited - firstname.lastname@example.org
music trail is a torturous one, is well known. The challenge is compounded
further by the individual’s refusal to be anything but ordinary – to personify
continuous upgrades in ability and accomplishment whilst retaining the in-bred
wonder and passion for the artform.
Such has been
the quest for Andres Lopez. The son of the Saint Catherine hills, he, like
several of his generation,gravitated to
music from an early age. He spent years in the orbit of several of Jamaica’s
finest musicians, gathering knowledge, making his own observations. This
exposure has had a tremendous influence on his development both as a performer
and a producer. While at his alma mater, Claremont High, under the leadership
of Nigel Powell, he became the school’s first band leader
Further refinement of his musical vision came via the Edna
Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts where he spent three years to
further his studies in piano/keyboard skills. While there he was a member of the jazz quartet ‘Wide
Grin”.The quartet provided another
avenue for him to further hone his skills by way of the many booked gigs they
leaving the institution, the pianist has steadily made a name for himself on
the cocktail circuit, working in tandem with his schoolmates, other
contemporaries as well as those who have preceded him. Lopez started doing
piano gigs playing at weddings, cocktails, parties and cooperate functions. He
also became an in-demand “side player” on projects and performances by the
likes of gospel stars Chevelle Franklin and Sandra Brooks, and roots reggae stalwarts
Fantan Mojah, Etana, Lutan Fyah, Anthony B and Alborosie. Such gigs have
expectedly resulted inthe air miles
piling up as he accompanied those acts on tours of the US, Canada, South
America and Europe.
has aspiration towards even brighter horizons and greater accomplishments. The
album “Unbelievable”his first
full-length as a leder, manifested from his self-created I-Pez Productions in
2013, reaching the loftynumber
one spot on Internet channel Reverbnation instrumental charts. The 10-track set
features several of his musical fellow-travellers:Nicholas Laraque on saxophones, Craig
Henry on trumpet, Dugal Clarke on bass and Michael Mighty on drums. Standout
tracks includeCharlie Parker’s be-bop
standby, “Little Suede Shoes” an organ-driven cover of the Peter Tosh classic
“Equal Rights” “Rubba Dub Ska” and the title track. World Vision.
continuing to work in variety of settings – solo, small group and fusion bands.
He is also looking to find new forms of expression as well, exploring a number
of projects – among them is the “Rock Weh” riddim, which has attracted the
attention of France-based production-promotion outfit Talowa Productions. The
track features a number of artists, including multi-cultural French reggae
group, The Banyans.
and appreciate the demands of the music business as it stands today, but I believe
I can be true to myself and still make a mark both commercially and artistically,”
he states, adding “its going to take some flexibility and a different level of
effort, but I’m up for it.”
from the sounds of the disc, greater accomplishments are well in sight.