Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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The Snowboy Column (December)

The Snowboy column
The Snowboy column Vintage at Goodwood Latin Fest UK JOE LOVANO: BIRD SONGS Speedometer: Again And Again London Horns: Don’t Look Down ( Robin Jones & King Salsa: Sabroso Mambo Hideaway in Streatham Phronesis: Alive

Looking back at the year it’s been nothing exceptional music-wise. The majority of new releases have been quite uninspiring and I’ve also just read the very depressing news (in the shape of a statistic) that 93% of the world’s music buyers buy illegally. As a recording artist myself, I had suspected it was very bad but 93%? When people are simply, innocently and quickly burning CD’s off of their i-Tunes for friends, that is yet another nail in the coffin of the music industry. It will never stop, so what are the predictions?

Well there will be more amateurish bedroom-recorded stuff flooding the market because labels won’t have the budget to finance recordings. This is already happening. Certainly with independent labels these day, all they can offer is that if the artist(s) supply the music they will market it and get it distributed. So, if that’s the case then the artists may as well put it out themselves rather that give a label a cut of the profits. Major labels have similar problems. They are not putting the money in to develop artists anymore the way they used to. They’re more-or-less hoping for a great result first time. I haven’t made an album in two years and am not sure if I will next year either. It’s like this: the public will never stop downloading and burning copies for others so I predict disaster.


I may be biased because I was involved musically, but just as everything had got incredibly stale this amazing festival comes along to freshen the palette. Lasting over three long days in august, this brainchild of the famous designers Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway was a celebration (in a BIG way) of all things Vintage from the 40’s to the 80’s – with the accent very heavily on music and fashion. Black music was very much a big part and featured everywhere – hence the involvement from this very legendary magazine. One of the run away successes was the recreation of a Mecca ballroom – called The Soul Casino. It was run by Acid Jazz Records owner Eddie Piller and he featured a lot of the UK’s most famous Soul DJ’s. It was packed at all times, as was Greg Wilsons Warehouse which featured all the barrier-breaking DJ’s from the 80’s maily. I’m proud to say that my 2,000 capacity 40’s ballroom did well as well, featuring the biggest names on the Swing scene. There was tons and tons more to the festival that I can’t fit in here, so have a look at and see what you missed. There will be one next year so watch this space. On finishing, it is exciting to report that, although loads of other festival organisers predicted disaster, we won Best New Festival at the national festival awards at the O2 recently.


I am very proud to announce a spectacular twice-yearly unique Jazz Dance weekender as part of the LATINFEST SALSA WEEKENDER in beautiful Torquay, Devon.

In amongst an already sold-out vibrant Salsa event with three packed ballrooms, the Jazz Dance action takes place at the Victoria Hotel in the TLH Holiday Resort in another beautiful ballroom with a big sprung dancefloor called THE JAZZATERIA from 9pm Friday until 2am Sunday night/Monday morning. Jazz Dance and Salsa are the perfect combination so it’s going to be incredible.

The DJ line-up for this first one is just almost beyond belief, featuring some of the UK’s most famous and legendary DJ’s of all-time in the scene: COLIN CURTIS, DR BOB JONES, BOB JEFFRIES, SNOWBOY, PERRY LOUIS, CHRIS DINNIS and ANDY DAVIES

This weekender will feature Jazz Dance of all styles and tempos from the fastest Fusion and Be-Bop to Jazz Juice favourites and Bossa. Something for everybody who love to dance to Jazz. There is free access to all the Salsa rooms and classes too. Along with the Jazz Dance sessions they’re featuring a special Saturday afternoon Soul session in the Warwick Bar with Colin, Dr Bob and special guest, legendary Soul DJ Andy Davies, and Sunday night will be the big Jazz Funk revival (incl. Jazz breaks) with our all-star team and special guest CHRIS DINNIS - the Godfather of the South West Jazz Funk/Jazz Dance scene.

The weekend pass is £90 and is for the event ONLY. Accommodation is NOT included. For tickets OR PAY DEPOSIT phone Tony Morrison on 07966 390 802 or e-mail and use the reference JAZZ. There are only limited tickets available now.

The weekender runs from Friday, February 25, 2011 at 8:00pm til Monday, February 28 at 2:00am. The venue is THE VICTORIA HOTEL, TLH HOLIDAY RESORT, BELGRAVE ROAD, Torquay, Devon.


On January 11, 2011, Joe Lovano Us Five will release Bird Songs, an exploration of the Charlie Parker songbook and the Grammy-winning saxophonist’s 22nd album for EMI’s Blue Note Records (the release of which will mark his 20th year on the label). Lovano will launch the album with a week-long engagement at the Village Vanguard in New York City (January 11-16), and an NPR Live At The Village Vangaurd session that will be webcast on the NPR Music website and broadcast on WBGO at 9:00pm ET on January 12.

“I didn’t approach this as a tribute record,” states Lovano, dispelling right off the bat any preconception that the album is a mere retread. Bird Songs breaks the mold of Bird tribute records. It’s a thrillingly adventurous, thoroughly modern, and uniquely personal look at one of the most influential figures in jazz history by one of the most important voices in the music today.

Us Five turned out to be the perfect vehicle for his exploration. Lovano’s dynamic young band features drummers Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela, pianist James Weidman, and bassist Esperanza Spalding who was just nominated for Best New Artist at the 2011 Grammy Awards. Us Five’s debut recording—2009s' Folk Art—was a wide-ranging set of Lovano’s original compositions that resulted in the band being awarded Best Small Ensemble of the Year at the 2010 Jazz Journalist Association Awards and winning the Best Jazz Group of the Year category in the 2010 DownBeat Critics Poll. Lovano completed a double-triple of awards in 2010 by also winning the JJA’s Musician of the Year and Tenor Saxophonist of the Year, and DownBeat’s Jazz Artist of the Year and Tenor Saxophonist of the Year.

One of the keys to approaching a project like Bird Songs for Lovano was to take Charlie Parker out of the museum and place him in a living, breathing continuum that reaches back to the musicians who had a deep impact on Bird’s development (Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster), but also refracting Bird’s music through the musical prism of those he deeply impacted (John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Wayner Shorter). But most importantly, Lovano sought to personalize Bird’s music.

“I wasn’t trying to play like Charlie Parker at all,” Lovano explains. “I was playing from his influences, from where he was coming from, and from the influences of all these amazing cats who were his disciples. I wanted to focus on his incredible compositions, the themes, the harmonic structures, the forms of his tunes and try to open them up and turn them inside out in a way to create my own melodic and rhythmic variations. I wanted to create my own recording. You can’t tell someone else’s story.”

Lovano intentionally made a decision to not approach this music on alto saxophone, Bird’s main instrument. Eight of the album’s eleven tracks—all songs either written by or associated with Parker—feature Lovano on his signature tenor saxophone, though he also performs one song each on straight alto (Blues Collage), his unique double-soprano horn the aulochrome (Birdyard), and in its recorded debut a G mezzo soprano (Lover Man). “For me the tenor saxophone is my voice,” he explains. “I explore a lot of different horns within the woodwind family that fuel my ideas, but I wanted to really play this on tenor because that’s who I am.”

"At the young age of 34 Charlie Parker passed and left us with open questions about what would be. I kept wondering how Bird would have developed within these tunes, not just as the incredible soloist that he was but as an arranger and band leader. Bird Songs is my humble attempt to answer some of those questions in my own way."


It’s been a phenomenal year for Jasper Høiby’s British/Scandinavian jazz trio Phronesis, culminating in their first live CD Alive (Edition) being chosen as JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR in both JAZZWISE and MOJO magazines. The CD was recorded in March 2010 (at the Forge Arts Venue in London), and the critical acclaim that followed its release has catapulted the trio to the forefront of the European contemporary jazz scene. In addition, the trio were nominated for Best Jazz Ensemble in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in April, featured on the front cover of Jazzwise Magazine in August and nominated for Best Jazz Act in the prestigious 2010 MOBO awards in October, alongside Brad Mehldau and John McLaughlin.

Phronesis 2011 UK tour dates:

12th Feb – Sherborne Jazz Club, Dorset
13th Feb – St Lawrence Chapel, Ashburton, Devon
14th Feb – North Devon Jazz Club, Appledore, North Devon
15th Feb – St Ives Jazz Club, Cornwall
17th Feb – St Austell Brewery, Cornwall
18th Feb – Brighton Jazz Club, East Sussex
8th March – Band on the Wall, Manchester
11th March – Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, Cumbria
12th March – The Vortex, London
24th March – Bonington Theatre, Nottingham
25th March – The Southbank Centre, London
31st March – Watermill Jazz Club, Dorking, Surrey
1st April – The Fleece, Colchester, Essex
2nd April – The Edge Arts Centre, Much Wenlock, Shropshire



Friday 10th December – Soul Purpose
Saturday 11th December – Claire Martin
Sunday 12th December – Hot Orange Big Band: Latin Celebration featuring Percussion Maestro Roberto Pla
Monday 13th December - Jam Session with Partikel
Wednesday 15th December – Jim Mullen Organ
Thursday 16th December – Cuban Salsa class with live band
Friday 17th December – 24 Pesos
Saturday 18th December – Jazz Jamaica
Sunday 19th December – Ola Onabule
Monday 20th December – Jam Session with Partikel
Wednesday 22nd December – Mornington Lockett
Friday 31st December – New Year’s Eve Party with world-renowned drummer Vince Dunn.


Robin Jones & King Salsa – Sabroso Mambo (Weave)

It’s always a joy to receive a new CD from the UK’s Godfather of Latin Music – percussion maestro Robin Jones. At 73 years old he’s still playing as dextrous as an 18 year old and of course his vast experience speaks volumes through his conga drums.

I’ve lost count exactly how many CD’s Robin has made but this is, by far, his finest yet. It features 11 blistering tracks that really show off his stunning band and vocalists. The playing is as good as you’d hear from New York, infact the incredible flamboyant horn arrangements have the fire and brashness that is missing in most modern world class Salsa bands. A special mention must go to the recording and mixing, which really enhances the strong songs taking them on to another level.

London Horns – Don’t Look Down (

It’s been great seeing horn-sections coming to the fore as artists in recent years like the Sound Stylistics, Kick Horns, Haggis Horns et al. The London Horns comprise of Graeme Flowers (trumpet), Barnaby Dickinson (trombone) and Graeme Blevins (saxophone) – all top session players in their own right, and are backed by a firing trio of guitar, bass and drums. I assumed that this would be an out-and-out Funk album but, by the very nature of the sound and style of the incredible players in the rhythm section it is more of a Jazz Fusion CD. I would say that on a first impression the style is both mid-70’s Funk Fusion and contemporary at the same time. In other words it’s not a retro-sounding CD and, frankly, is all the better for it. The band are not scared of going into the darker experimental areas favoured by contemporary and friend Finn Peters either. All the styles merge seamlessly and very satisfyingly, and if it this CD is to show off the horn sections skills in arrangements, punchy section-work and individual solo skills, it succeeds in a big way!

Speedometer – Again And Again (Freestyle 12”)

Speedometer’s latest album (The Shakedown) is so strong that virtually any track could be released as a single. What I particularly like about this 12” is the flute mix of Again And Again. Normally heard on saxophone, Matt McKay proves equal dexterity on Flute here as he features on this instrumental version playing the melody and treating us to a solo too. This version actually stands up strongly in it’s own right next to the vocal version, so even if you have the album you’ll still need this 12”!


Please feel free to contact Snowboy with any Jazz news/event info that you feel would benefit others Thank you.

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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