Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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The Snowboy Column (October)

The Snowboy column on Blues & Soul
The Snowboy column on Blues & Soul The Vintage Festival The Torch Club @Vintage at Goodwood Festival The Good Foot: Every Friday @Madame JoJo's Jazz Junctions on Radio 2 Poetry Olympics Empirical Robin McKelle @Pizza Express A Complete Introduction To Sugar Hill Records [Box Set] James Langton & The Solid Senders  @Vintage 13/08/10 The Solid Senders @Vintage 13/08/10 The Solid Senders @Vintage 13/08/10 James Langton @Vintage 13/08/10 James Langton @Vintage 13/08/10 James Langton & The Solid Senders fan's dancing @Vintage 13/08/10 James Langton & The Solid Senders fan's dancing @Vintage 13/08/10 Louise Cookman @Vintage 13/08/10 Louise Cookman @Vintage 13/08/10 James Langton & Louise Cookman @Vintage 13/08/10

At the time of writing it’s been six weeks since the ‘Vintage At Goodwood’ festival and I’ve only just started getting my act together. Who’d have thought that being part of the organisation of a festival could be so exhausting? Still, it was worth it. My area, covering the 1940’s was a 2,000 capacity ballroom called ‘The Torch’, and such was the interest in 1940’s music, there were queues from midday til midnight every day. Next year we’ll have to make it 3,000 capacity. I thought it was amazing that most of the people in The Torch were just regular non-40’s dressers who were just interested in the music. Is this an indication of a national trend? Could be.

I was so busy in my area that I didn’t see what else went on, but a quick scan around Google will give you plenty of revues. This very famous publication was there on site too, so I’m sure there’s a review or five on this site alone. One thing I DO know is that the event sold twice as many tickets as expected (just under 46,000!), so this festival will definitely appear in 2011.

One of the good things about having the opportunity to be organising entertainment at Vintage (or ‘curating’ as they like to call it) is that I now realise I can do it and have already been offered two other 40’s festivals and two major Jazz festivals (of which names I cannot mention at the moment). It’s very exciting. No doubt ‘Blues & Soul’ will be involved (even though they don’t know it yet!).

Things have been very hectic over the summer with my band with all the Jazz festivals going on. I wonder who the publicists are for a lot of them around the country though because they don’t make me aware of most of them. It’s very frustrating. I’ve just read that both of our shows at Ronnie Scotts tomorrow are sold out, so that’s exciting, and I’ll have some great news for you soon of a tour next March with the worlds leading Salsa-singer – Herman Olivera.


My Friday night DJ residency, The Good Foot, at Madame Jo Jo’s, Brewer Street, Soho, London is peaking at the moment I’m glad to say. Along with my DJ partner Healer Selecta we’re plating floor shaking 60’s and 70’s Deep Funk, Soul, Rare Groove, Boogaloo, Mambo, Ska and R&B (ala Ray Charles), so if that’s your thing we hope to see you soon.

It must be because of the summer I suppose, but I have NOTHING to review this month believe it or not. Although certainly NOT Jazz or Funk, I did request a new compilation box-set - Definitive History Of Sugarhill Records on Universal. I was a bit put out that I wasn’t involved because I am (apparently) the authority on the label and hold a lot of unique information. When I received it I realised that this was a bloody repackaging of one I did for Sanctuary Records years ago, but this time neither my writing, compiling or use of scans of the records out of my collection were credited. Thanks a lot Universal.

Here’s some more news:


Robin McKelle returns to London to perform one exclusive London date ahead of the release of Messin Around in the early part of 2011.

After two jazz albums, Robin McKelle shuns her former classic repertoire and 40’s styling’s in favour of a set of rhythm ‘n’ blues, soul, and jazz with a distinct 60’s flavour. Mess Around is McKelle’s third album and represents a significant change in direction. Here, she presents a gritty collection of songs that bring to mind Etta James, Ray Charles and early Bette Midler.

Inspired by the great traditions of Ray Charles and Nina Simone, McKelle includes in her set covers by the likes of Willie Dixon and Doc Pommus and highly-successful, original takes on titles by Leonard Cohen, the Gibb brothers and Lennon & McCartney as well as her own superb originals. While on record, she is backed by a formidable group of musicians including James Brown’s trombonist Fred Wesley and legendary sax player Houston Person, for her London date she is joined by her quartet - Xavier Davis on Piano, Reggie Washington on Bass and Mark McLean on Drums. Together they fully convey the immediate impact of the record, and expresses the unique texture of her timbre and the stripped-down, affection-free verve of her performance.

Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean St, London Wednesday 20th October, 2010
Here are the latest playlists from the weekly Tel: 0845 6027 017


Nathaniel Facey, the incredible alto saxophonist with award-winning jazz sensation, Empirical won this year’s Jazz Medal for Young Musicians, hosted by The Worshipful Company of Musicians. The annual competition was held on 26 September at Albany Cafe-Bar, Deptford, with Facey beating off stiff competition from five other amazing musicians. This year’s competitors included master double bassist and fellow Empirical band member, Tom Farmer; trumpeter, George Hogg; drummer, Daoud Merchant; guitarist, Alex Munk; and stunning pianist, Ross Stanley.

The win comes just a few weeks after Empirical’s nomination for a MOBO Award in this year’s Best Jazz category for their critically-acclaimed album, Out ‘n’ In. Produced by Jason Yarde, and featuring special guest Julian Siegel, Out ‘n' In was released on Naim Jazz in September 2009 and pays tribute to Eric Dolphy’s musical legacy through nine Dolphy-inspired original compositions and two new arrangements of his work: Hat and Beard and Gazzelloni. The album featured prominently in Mojo magazine’s top ten jazz albums of 2009, as well as appearing in several other top ten lists – not to mention, garnering rave reviews in the US.

The Jazz Medal for Young Musician Award is presented to an exceptional instrumentalist under the age of 30, who is selected by an elite panel to participate (with up to five other contenders) in a live competition gig. The competition is very unique in that the chosen musicians must agree their repertoire informally just hours prior to going on stage. The audience - comprising of jazz journalists, jazz educators, and general jazz enthusiasts – then cast their votes. The winner is selected by majority vote of all the listeners present. Nathaniel Facey receives prizes of £1,000 in value and will perform at a special victory gig during Spring 2011 at a London venue, with a band of his choice.


This is fund raising concert for historic Lanercost Priory featuring Pee Wee Ellis (James Brown and Van Morrison fame) together with Gareth Williams (US3 fame) live at Lanercost Priory, Saturday October 16th 7.30pm. Sounds like this will most definitely be a night to remember!


Michael Horovitz's annual jazz/poetry Superjam could be the last in its spiritual home - the legendary 100 Club, as the venue's owner Jeff Horton has announced it may close by Christmas.

The 100 Club opened as a jazz club in 1942 under the ownership of Victor Feldman's family - Feldman appear on drums on its opening night at the age of 8 years old. Humphrey Lyttelton's management took over the running of the club in the 1950s and it played host to legions of homegrown and American jazz and blues and greats including Louis Armstrong and Big Bill Broonzy.

In the 1970s, the club became famous as an early home of Punk bands like the Clash and the Sex Pistols. As a result, the club is today revered equally in jazz, blues and rock circles, while in the meantime rates and rents for its prime Oxford Street location have soared leaving Horton, owner since 1985, to consider the unthinkable - "In 1985, when I took over, the rent was barely £11,000 In the US the rents are frozen at certain venues that have a bit of heritage. Here it's a total free-for-all." He added: "What the 100 Club needs is a buyer or major sponsor to step forward. Barring that, we're closing at Christmas despite being as popular as ever. It really is insane."

Show your support for the club by visiting its campaign headquarters - and in the meantime enjoy the varied programme Michael Horovitz has put together for National Poetry Day:

Gwyneth Herbert; the William Blake Klezmatrix band; the Annie Whitehead Whitstable World Music Workshop Band; the New Departures Dynasty band including Ian Smith tpt, Martin Davison clt, Annie on tbn/vocals, Peter Lemer piano et al; John Hegley; Adam & Michael Horovitz; Niall McDevitt; Molly & Sophie Parkin; Hank Wangford; Fran Landesman and a number of other Special Guests tbc. Tickets £10 at the door from 7.15pm


BBC Radio 2 have announced a new ten-part documentary series called Jazz Junctions, which explores the ever-changing journey of jazz through its 100-year history. Launching at 10pm on Wednesday 6 October 2010, the ten-part series is presented by British trumpet maestro Guy Barker, and will explore one of the 20th century’s defining art forms.

All music changes over the years as social and personal tastes shift, and jazz is no exception. Each one-hour episode of Jazz Junctions focuses on different aspects of jazz, identifying the defining turning points and pivotal events that shaped jazz history, discovering along the way some of the extraordinary innovations, stories and larger-than-life characters at each step and turn, on every page and in every groove.

Intercut with archive interviews with jazz greats from the past, are contributions from more than fifty living legends of their craft, including McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Dave Brubeck, Buddy DeFranco, Albert ‘Tootie’ Heath, Roy Haynes, Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Lou Donaldson and Sir Charles Thompson.

“Jazz Junctions promises to be a truly fascinating exploration of the timeless attraction of jazz and an appointment to listen for all music-lovers everywhere” comments Radio 2 and 6 Music Head of Programmes, Lewis Carnie.

Presenter Guy Barker adds: “As a musician, I’m really impressed with the range of talent showcased in this series and very much look forward to introducing what to me is a definitive jazz hall of fame.”

We are hopeful that this exciting series - written by well respected journalists and broadcasters Russell Davies, Brian Priestley and Dave Gelly - represents a new and increased commitment from the BBC in its presentation of jazz on both radio and television.


I must apologise. I didn’t know I was reviewing this concert and so didn’t write any song-titles down. James Langton was my first night headliner in my 2,000 capacity 1940’s ballroom The Torch and his impending arrival on stage was creating an air of tension and expectation. Langton is one of the UK’s most beloved artists in the UK Swing scene and is rarely seen since moving to the US 12 years ago to conquer the Swing scene in New York state. I first came across him when he was the lead vocalist with the mighty Pasadena Roof Orchestra and followed his career as a clarinettist leading his own orchestra playing Artie Shaws music from the original manuscripts. Incredible. And then he left us for the US.

Being in a position of organising groups for the Torch, James Langton was my indulgence. I’d contacted him and YES he was going to fly over and reunite his 18 orchestra The Solid Senders especially for us. The buzz was intense because the hardened 40’s crowd see the same great bands time and time again, so tonight was a special occasion.

The moment was here. He came on stage to a deafening welcome and delivered two hours of the most achingly authentic Swing it was possible to play. The orchestra moved and swung as one; as only TRUE lovers of this music can do. Langton tempered them and fired them up with precise finely-honed conducting creating the heavenly dynamics that this music insists upon. After treating us to an encore it was all over and I felt sorry for the following entertainment. We’d witnessed a spectacular display that would not be topped, could not be topped, all weekend. We received a lesson from the master that will not be forgotten in a hurry, and all I hope is that we can entice him back over soon.

I’ll see you next month.

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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