Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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THE SNOWBOY COLUMN

Snowboy@bluesadsoul.com
Snowboy@bluesadsoul.com

Oh dear. Even for someone as mouthy as me there isn̢۪t really much happening or to review this month! I̢۪m sure there is lot̢۪s going on out there but if I̢۪m not told I won̢۪t know.

Chuchills, Southend

I will just flag-wave a bit for my home area Southend-On-Sea in Essex. I played there last week with my new Funk Jazz group The Perceptions at a venue called Churchills. The venue is one of those typical trendy-ish large bars/clubs that one sees in any high street any where in the country. In the evening it would play the usual commercial dance music and would be (probably) full of hen parties etc, but on Sunday lunchtime every week they have a packed Jazz session which is now on the country-wide circuit. They host a variety of jazz from Ray Gelato to JTQ to local Fusion acts to visiting international artists like Chris Standring from the US and have a dedicated weekly regular crowd of around 200. This is amazing (oh, and the food is amazing too!). Other than Churchills, there is modern jazz happening 5 nights a week in the Southend area, with a very big following for Big Band and Trad too. This can̢۪t be bad! It̢۪s a shame that our lousy local council did away with our Jazz festival a few years back. With a little imagination why couldn̢۪t we̢۪ve been the UK̢۪s equivalent of North Sea Jazz Festival or Montreux? We have the venues and hotel capacity. Our town is bigger than either one of them (I̢۪ve played at both). Town Councils! That̢۪s my area, now what about yours?

Plymouth̢۪s Barbican International
Jazz and Blues Festival

There are new features of this annual music and performance event that takes over venues across Plymouth̢۪s historic quayside area, The Barbican. Acts confirmed for this year include:

Various dates from Friday 1 May to Monday 4 May
Diz ‘Honeybear’ Watson – Rockin’ boogie-woogie pianist who’s appeared with Dr John

Sunday 3 May
Barbican Theatre: Martin Harley – British blues-man who has supported James Morrison on his UK tour

Tuesday 5 May
B-bar: Son of Dave – Canadian harmonica-playing, beatboxing, Fedora-wearing one-man-blue band

Tuesday 5 May
Barbican Theatre: Portico Quartet – This young, hip outfit has played all the major festivals including Glastonbury and the Big Chill

Wednesday 6 May
Barbican Theatre: Preston Reed

Friday 8 May
Barbican Theatre: Abram Wilson and the Delta Blues Trio – New Orleans-bred jazz trumpeter, singer and rapper

Saturday 9 May
The Refectory in Plymouth Gin, Cherry Lee Mewis – blues’n’roots 23-year-old singer from North Wales, name-checked by Seasick Steve

Sunday 10 May
Kingsize 5 – Theatrical punk-swing that mixes Louis Jordan with Madness and Ian Dury

Local acts appearing at the Barbican International Jazz and Blues Festival include:

Tin Pan Alley tunesmiths Speakeasy, featuring Seth Lakeman’s dad; Blues guitarist Vince Lee; Soul-jazz floozy Mama Tokus; Plymouth-based jazz singer Louise Parker; Piafinitee – a tribute to Edith Piaf; Morph – a jazz fusion outfit fronted by guitarist Fraser Weekes.

COVENTRY JAZZ PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION

A citywide exhibition of jazz photography has been launched to celebrate the forthcoming Coventry Jazz Festival in May. Featuring a selection of iconic black and white photography taken over the last 10 years of the Coventry Jazz Festival, the exhibition can be viewed at various venues, pubs, cafes, restaurants and shops across the city centre with more to be added later in the year.

Initiated by Jazz Festival organisers, CV One, the exhibition includes classic performance images of some of the world̢۪s best known Jazz artists and musicians, taken by some of Coventry and Warwickshire̢۪s leading photographers including Andy Moore, Paul Gilroy, Paul Blakemore, Tony Swann and Mitchel Hand.

You can see images from the exhibition at participating venues all over the city centre, which include the Old Windmill, Pizza Express, The Tuns, The Herbert, The Tin Angel, Taylor John̢۪s House, West Orchards, Unite Sandwich Bar, Playwrights, The Squirrel, Dogma, Waterstones, Old Orleans and Liquid bar.

2009 will mark Coventry’s 11th Jazz Festival under its current committee, which will see performances from the likes of Maceo Parker, Robert Fripp & Theo Travis, The Don Weller Big Band, Portico Quartet and Jacqui Dankworth! There’ll also be appearances by the Steve Waterman Quintet, Neil Cowley Trio, Tim Garland Acoustic Trio and the Michael Roach Duo. The jazz festival will occur over the bank holiday weekend in May (21st – 25th), at venues across the city, which include The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry Cathedral, St Mary’s Hall, Biggin Hall, Esquires Coffee House (at Coventry Transport Museum) and Taylor John’s House.
www.coventryjazzfestival.com

Essential Blue Note Reissues

So there’s great new CD reissues of classic titles under the banner ‘The Rudy Van Gelder Edition’ – in tribute to the barrier-breaking jazz recording engineer. I normally hate reissues because the original sound has been tampered with but the beauty of these are that they’ve actually been remastered by Rudy Van Gelder himself! Buy with complete confidence. So far released are:

Horace Parlan – Up & Down
Baby Face Willette – Stop And Listen
Horace Silver – The Tokyo Blues
Grant Green – Street Of Dreams
Jackie McLean – Bluesnik
Grachan Moncur III – Some Other Stuff

REVIEWS

I did such an enormous amount last month I only have a few this month I̢۪m afraid!

Jazz

24 Carat – Blue In Black (Columbia)

Here’s a staggeringly good new CD from Japan. This is produced by M-Swift, who I have raved about in earlier Blues And Soul’s, and what we have here is Jazz-Dance perfection. There are so many amazing dance tracks for the heaviest of dancers I don’t really want to pinpoint one in particular. It’s just great tough Samba Fusion and Funky Fusion all the way through, littered with potential future classics and the instrumentation is outstanding. The only track out of place is 4 Hero’s remix of ‘Café Bahia’ which sits awkwardly with the rest of the CD but luckily it is the last track on the CD so the flow of the music is not interrupted It’s an essential purchase so hunt it down.

Broken Beat & Nu Jazz

Altered Natives – Rass Out EP (Fresh Minute)

The lead track comes in with a thundering exciting Broken Afro groove followed by a repetitive bass line. Other than the sound of the bass changing constantly throughout nothing much happens really. On first listen I decided that I wasn’t going to review it, but then all of a sudden I found myself playing this track over and over again in the car. It took a few plays but now I totally get it. The same must also be said of the second track – ‘Bullet Blade Knuckle Slap’ – too. This is a very forceful, ever-changing Techy-Broken number and, again, it took a few plays. If you’re a PROPER dancer this will push and pull you about to your hearts content but it’s not for the feint-hearted. I’m won over and will almost definitely be featuring either or both tracks at the forthcoming Southport Weekender.

Noelle Scaggs – Cherry Pie (Acetate)

A voice that you will be familiar with from the mighty ‘Rebirth’ amongst many others and here she is with perhaps her debut single.

In truth I don’t like the A-side. It’s not for me. It’s quite an 80’s Electro Pop type-track and not really for the pages of Blues And Soul, but hang on a minute – the B-side ‘Dialed Up’. What have we got here? What a killer! Imagine Rare Groove mixed with Salsoul. The track motors along in it’s quality funky-disco way with nice solos and great chants over the top. It’s nice and long and ever changing. It’ll get played in many different scenes I imagine AND be big too. I don’t think either song particularly shows Noelle’s voice off but it’s a good performance anyway, and if this get’s the exposure it should it’s going to be big all year long. A total winner.

Please feel free to contact SNOWBOY at B&S with any Jazz news that you feel would benefit others - Thank you.

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