Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Babel Babble, playlist 26 April 2001

Mole People (Julian Arguelles) from Skull View (Babel)
Machine Gun (Finn Peters) from Su Ling (Babel)
Final Movement, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 (Bach) played by Concentus Music (Harnoncourt)
Blue Sphere (Thelonious Monk) from London Collection (Black Lion)
The Priest (Christine Tobin) from Aililiu (babel)
Soleils (Rene Aubry) from Invites sur la Terre (Wagram)
Discovering Metal (Django Bates) from Summer Fruits and Unrest (Winter and Winter)
Golden Slumbers (Orquestra Mahatma) from Young Person's Guide (Babel)
Big Juice (Noble/Marshall/Buckley) from Bud Moon (Ping Pong)
Asturiana (de Falla arr Berio) from Fiesta! (BBC)
All I Really Want To Do (Bob Dylan) from Another Side of Bob Dylan (CBS)
Shower (Led Bib) from Sizewell Tea (Babel)
Love Takes Time (Selen Gulun) from Answers (Pozitif)

Contact me at about availability of the CDs.

The themes this week were how apparent simplicity creates universality, based on a discussion I had with Joachim Badenhorst at Vortex, since he was playing Bach. Django's piece shows, by contrast, how total complexity can be satisfying.

Also a few iconic Babel release solos - Huw Warren on The Priest, Django Bates on Mole People.

And, above, another sign of this simplicity leading to beauty.

Big Air (with Steve Buckley and Oren Marshall) play Cheltenham on 1 May and Vortex on 2 May.

And a couple of tracks from the Han Bennink season at the Vortex, playing with Steve Noble and Terry

there's a review here.

Jazz and its venues and its audience

Sebastian Scotney's Londonjazz blog (HERE) recently highlighted a debate that has evolved in France over venues, their status and their treatment of their musicians. Being involved in a venue myself - the Vortex - I realise constantly this discussion which often occurs internally, but also bubbles over every now and then.

I'd just like to make a few incidental observations:

1) Venues, and particularly those working daily, such as Duc des Lombards, have to look at all ways they can of survival. So putting food in people's mouths is one important way. In London, all the main venues (apart from the Vortex) do this. I sometimes fear that they are treated as supper clubs first and then as jazz venues. This was one of the original gripes of Laurent Coq.
Musicians of course do similar things. They sell t shirts, they sell CDs, whatever it is to raise their income levels.

Overall, it's a balance between quality and commercial!

2) The role of the audience at a jazz gig is vital, and often underestimated - usually by the audience themselves. So they think that, by talking, staring longingly in each others' eyes, or whatever, it won't affect the music. IT DOES! And of course, also the listening experience for the others wanting to appreciate their money's worth. Gail Brand's recent research for the Guildhall School of Music confirms this.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Babel Babble playlist on NTS, 19 April

The programme is broadcast live weekly on NTS on


If You Go Away (Emilia Martensson/Barry Green) from forthcoming Babel release
Chelsea Morning (Joni Mitchell) from Clouds
Mutawal from Yemen Traditional Music of the North (Auvidis)
Ooh Salamander (Christine Tobin) from House Of Women (Babel)
Toon Town (Chris Batchelor/Steve Buckley0 from Life as We Know It (Babel)
Concorde No. 1 (Disorder on the Border ) from Vol. 1 (Babel)
The Poacher (Ronnie Lane) from April Fool (NMC)
Xibaba (Huw Warren) from Infinite Riches In A Little Room (Babel)
Polcuta from Festive Musics of the Jews from The Botosani Region (Ethnophonie)
And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (June Tabor) from Anthology (Topic)
Oliver North/Twisted (Billy Jenkins) from Entertainment USA (Babel)
Marching Dice (Acoustic Ladyland) Camouflage (Babel)
Norwegian Wood (Amit Chaudhuri) from Found Music (Babel-Vortex)

The programme covered iconic singers - people who send tingles down the spine but with a history. So indirectly covered Brel, Marlene Dietrich but included the moving June Tabor singing Eric Bogle's iconic And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (ahead of Anzac Day on 25 April)

Alev Lenz, who does the show immediately after mine, played a song about the 15 year old Turkish boys forced to fight against the Australians. So, the two shows seem to be dovetailing into each other.

I mentioned Edith Piaf, part of the stimulation to this strand. Check out this video of La Foule

The competition was won by Graham Lee.
There's a version of The Poacher on Youtube with Charlie Hart on violin (top left)

For more information on how to get the releases - and many are available through the Babel shop - ask me on

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Babel Babble on NTS, 12 April

Listen here

Arrival of the Tourists (Billy Jenkins/Fun Horns) from Mayfest '94
Sun and Moon (Sam Crockatt) from Flood Tide (Babel, forthcoming)
Waltz for Rosie (Bruno Heinen) from Twinkle Twinkle (Babel, available summer 2011)
Gangar e Tarkjel from The Jews Harp World (Etnisk Folkklub)
Black Hole (Paula Rae Gibson) from Maybe Too Nude (Babel)
Strangers (Sam Leak) from Aquarium (Babel)
La Scaramella  (Josquin) from Une Fete Chez Rabelais (Harmonia Mundi)
Peonies after Hiroshige (Liam Noble) from Let's Call This (Babel)
Block Ice & Propane (Erik Friedlander) from Block Ice & Propane (Skipstone)
Vapors (Steve Lehman) from Now's The Time II (Babel-Vortex)
Bracken from Big Air (Babel)

Competition: La Scaramella is the alternative name for a Commedia dell'Arte character with strong associations with (the) Queen. How?
Winner receives a copy of Let's Call This\
Email me on

Next show on next Tuesday at 3 p.m. Broadcast LIVE!

It was a challenge to broadcast live for the first time. But I made it. There are great shows before and after me. James playing 1960s electronic music and then Alev Lenz. Check out the station on