Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vortex in Space!!!

Description: The-Space-Arts-Partner-Mark-Print-Dark                                    Description: LV_Colour_RGB

Vortex in Space!   Room for plenty aboard!

On behalf of Vortex Jazz Foundation, Lee Paterson and co-producer John Denton are delighted to say Live Vortex has taken off, into Arts Council/BBC free on-demand arts channel www.thespace.org

Description: Mandy Drummond_close to you 1First Episode:  Sol6 – Veryan Weston, Luc Ex, Mandy Drummond, Ingrid Laubrock,
Hannah Marshall and Mark Sanders
with their take on Steve Lacy’s Hurtles and Mandy Drummond’s rendition of classic Bacharach, Close to You

Every Friday until November, 15 weekly episodes of music filmed in the Vortex Jazz Club London, along with related archival material and interviews with the musicians.  Our thanks to and appreciation for the wonderful Sol6, Sons of Kemet and Township Comets – details on them below.

There’s still a few hiccups, so expect some adjustments as we go along.  Happy(ish) to hear there’s problems viewing on your browser, phone, tablet…but should be fine for most!

Love you to watch, spread the word – love to surprise the BBC with extent of appetite for the unfamiliar and challenging.   Jazz is for the intrepid and curious!

Sol6 – weekly episodes from 27 July 2012 
A masterful chamber-hybrid of cabaret, punk, deep groove and free improvisation – Eric Satie, Burt Bacharach, Charles Ives, Bertolt Brecht and own compositions from the best of British and European improvisers.  Led by a pioneer of the British improv scene pianist, Veryan Weston, and Dutch bassist Luc Ex – ex of punk Nederlanders, The Ex, with Ingrid Laubrock (sax), Hannah Marshall (cello), Mandy Drummond (viola) and Mark Sanders on drums.    www.lucex.nl/cms/sol6
Sons of Kemet – online in late August   
Hailing from the shadowy world of the London post-jazz scene, the incandescent Sons of Kemet are saxist/clarinetist Shabaka Hutchings, tuba virtuoso Oren Marshall, and the stunning double-drums team of Tom Skinner and Seb Rochford, powering a mix of dancefloor hooks and New Orleans street music with the percussive intricacy of west African drum music, a dose of Caribbean dub, and free jazz.  www.shabakahutchings.com
Township Comets – online in October  
Featuring the vocalist Pinise Saul, The Comets play the searing, joyous music of saxophonist Dudu Pukwana, a towering figure in South African jazz and the European improv scene, and an exile to London, like Pinise, from the apartheid regime. With the stellar line-up of trumpeter Chris Batchelor, trombonist Harry Brown, Jason Yarde on saxophone, Adam Glasser piano, Dudley Phillips bass and Frank Tontoh, drums.  www.chris-batchelor.com/projects.html

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Babel Babble, 24 July


This was an Italian "special" put together by Rico. Unfortunately, I had to attend Lol Coxhill's funeral.

Normal service to be resumed this Tuesday.

1Soul Scrubble by  Gabin
2The River Of Anyder. By Stefano Battaglia Trio
3Mirage. By Romano Mussolini Trio
4Arbeit Macht FreiBuy. By Area
5Anima Mia (Cugini Di Campagna)
By Societa Anonima Decostruzionismi Organici
5 L.S.D. Party.    By Piero Piccioni
6 Mad Puppet By Goblin
7 Midnight Express By Giorgio Moroder
8 Ricordandoti by  Piero Umiliani
9 Nel Viaggio. By Piero Umiliani
10 The Clock Music.  By Ennio Morricone
11 Pound Stretcher. By 9 Lazy 9
12 'O Sciore Cchiù Dub By Almamegretta
13 Numero Deux. By The Dining Rooms
14 Synhti Boogie by Piero Umiliani
15 The Herb by 9 Lazy 9
16 Mi Ritorni In Mente (Version) By Enrico Rava

(Piero Umiliani wrote Mah Na Mah Na in 1968)

There was no show on 17 July, due to the refurbishment of the studio.

Monday, July 23, 2012

London culture is more than just the Cultural Olympiad

Last Saturday, Dance Nations Dalston took place in Gillett Square. It was already being treated as an overspill linked to the Olympic torch relay passing through Dalston as an annual collaboration with the Barbican. In fact, it suddenly got upgraded last weekend because the main Hackney Olympic celebration in Clissold Park got cancelled due to a waterlogged park.
So a few parts of that, notably the Rio carnival celebration, were integrated into ours, with hard work from our stretched resources (e.g. Clarissa and Dominic). And it all went off wonderfully, with 2000 or so at any time thronging the Square. And all the local bars and food stalls made a good amount of money to keep going. (I ended up running the VIP bar, pouring apple juice for the likes of Sir Nicholas Kenyon and Ruth McKenzie. "I know my place" as Ronnie Corbett used to say on the Frost Report.)
Meanwhile, we had a huge event of River of Music on 6 stages, a bit like Womad but spread out! And we had such an overkill. John L Walters' review in Guardian shows how dynamic the Europe stage was. But there was Zakir Hussain in Battersea Park, Hugh Masekela, Wynton Marsalis.
It's great to be let loose in the sweet shop from time to time. However, this focus on such large-scale events may make one forget that London is a year-round vibrant place. We had lovely gigs at the Vortex during and before the River of Music, e.g. Richard Fairhurst yesterday (Sunday) but it's not officially deemed part of the London 2012 cultural offering. Indeed, Arcola Theatre, around the corner, is closed for refurbishment.
As with any such event, one tends to think that the culture will "leave" as soon as the big event is over. But come September, the Vortex will still be hosting over 100 gigs over the rest of the year alone, and will still be going while the Olympic park is shut. Somehow, the importance of the year round London culture is forgotten. We get a similar feeling around the London Jazz Festival. We have a 365 days a year festival at the Vortex. And there are still loads of musicians and others plying their trade. It shouldn't be that they have missed the boat if they weren't in the Olympiad, or that they should be happy with a few minutes of activity. And indeed many musicians, we know, are being encouraged to play for nothing during the Games.
Perhaps it's just that the government after "bread and circuses" to keep us all happy and deflect us. The Romans were a bit cleverer though. As Juvenal said: "Panem et circenses" which didn't just last a few weeks.
We need to make sure that culture is supported all year round. Not just giving single gigs to people in projects which may be of limited life and creative worth for a few days.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Richard Fairhurst On Babel Label



       Up coming concert 

  Vortex Jazz Club July 22nd 2012
       Richard Fairhurst - piano
       Sam Lasserson -  Bass
       Tim Giles - Drums



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Huw Warren on Babellabel


              Concert Dates

Friday, July 13, 2012

Being Francis Newton in the Golden Age of Jazz

I found an old copy of a book called The Jazz Scene (1959) by a man called Francis Newton. The book’s previous owner bought it way back in 1963 for 4 shillings and its age showed from the sepia colour of the pages. Although I paid considerably more, I had to have it. I recognised the author as being Eric Hobsbawm the British intellectual and Marxist historian who wrote ‘The Age of Revolution’ – a book I had to read at school. I was curious to see if he would apply the same analytical mastery to the study of Jazz. In 2010 the London Review of Books published a piece by Hobsbawm covering his jazz period as Francis Newton. It turns out that he took the soubriquet ‘Francis Newton’ from a communist trumpeter who played on Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit’, and wrote a monthly jazz column for 10 years for the New Statesman. In fact, Newton was well placed to observe the rise of modern jazz in the UK in 1950s. During 1930s British jazz fans made do with 78 rpm records which they discussed passionately in upstairs rooms of pubs or ‘rhythm clubs’.  Newton described the followers as young, provincial, suburban and musically untaught - 'they were loving and propagandist critics rather than practitioners'. This group developed a liking for what became known as ‘trad jazz’ – a style that reproduced versions of New Orleans Jazz and Country Blues. It became clear to Newton that there was a gap in taste and context between jazz writers, and successful players on the one hand who kept to the tradition and style of the 1930s and 1940s, and a small corps of serious professional British musician who would later form the audience for ‘modern’ jazz on the other. For Newton it meant coming to terms with Bebop – the ‘modern’ period of jazz. Even the passionate jazz-conservative Philip Larkin had to give an inch when confronted with likes of Monk, Gillespie, Parker and Miles. Needless to say, Newton was fascinated by the musicians and their world – ‘jazz scene’ so to speak. He moved between the different jazz worlds of trad, swing, bebop and later modern jazz. These worlds were not entirely self-contained for there were overlaps between some of them. Being Francis Newton placed the great historian in the heart of the British jazz scene. His base was the Downbeat Club on Old Compton Street, not far from where he lived, and where musician and their hangers on chilled. Ronnie Scott had only just opened for ‘listening’ rather than a hanging out.

To be continued...

Blink review, Guardian

Blink: Twice – review

3 out of 5
The gifted young British pianist and composer Alcyona Mick wrote much of the material on this double album, which splices a 2010 studio recording and a Vortex Club live set. The byzantine twists and staccato accents of her opening Mummy's Boy over Paul Clarvis's robust drumming characterises the band's quirky variations on postbop's melodic ideas. Robin Fincker's glowering mood piece Hall C and spiky No 7 are vehicles for low-end improv on piano and tenor sax. Country Life is an enigmatic boogie with a quiet clarinet theme, and Mick's slowly unveiled Underfoot, with its softly hooting brief fragment of melody, paints an expressive picture with very few strokes. The only cover is of saxophonist Steve Lacy's hypnotic Image, which sounds like aThelonious Monk theme in very low gear. The live set also includes cellist Vincent Courtois, and has a more open and improv-oriented air at times, powerfully exploited by Clarvis. Even so, Waltz is melancholically and romantically gentle, and the closing In Two Minds is a quiet improv conversation. Blink's music is often understated, but their material is full of character and improv resourcefulness to match.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Babel Babble playlist, 10 July

Dedicated to Lol Coxhill. I remember him playing a gig on an underwater saxophone at ULU Swimming Pool many years ago.

Mujician - Part 1 (From Colours Fulfilled)
Neneh Cherry and The Thing - Accordion
Karl Seglem Gammal Rorsle (from Ossicles)
Stian Westerhus - Don't Tell Me This Is Home (from Pitch Black Star Spangled)
Stian Westerhus - Sing With Me Somehow (from Pitch Black Star Spangled)
Joe McPhee - Soprano/Echoplex Number One (from Sound on Sound)
June Tabor - She's Like The Swallow (from At The Wood's Heart)
Julie Andrews - Where'er You Walk
Eddie Parker - Variable Geometry (from Everything You Do To Me)
Keith Jarrett - Lisbon Stomp (from Life Between The Exit Signs)
Billy Jenkins - Monkey Men (from Scratches of Spain)
Stevie Wonder - Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing (from Innervisions)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Babel Babble playlist, 3 July

Doris Day/Donald O' Connor - No Two People
Erik Friedlander - Road Weary (from Block Ice and Propane)
Huw Warren - Bicycles and Bluebells (from Barrel Organ Far From Home)
Billy Jenkins - Feelin' Groovy (drom True Love Collection)
Svein Westad - Skjoldmoyslaget (from Munnharpas Verden)
Hakon Kornstad - Oslo (from Dwell Time)
Russian Easter Hymn
MeTaL-O-PHoNe - Improvisation Zen
Ilhan Erhasin - Bosphorus
Trevor Pinnock - From The second part of Musick's Handmaiden
Christine Tobin - The Lake Isle of Innisfree (ft Gabriel Byrne) (from Sailing To Byzantium)
Greg Lyon - She's Leaving Home (from Smoke Signals)
Mongolian Barbeque - Blackfriars Bridge (from The Harvesting of Souls)
Jean Louis - 05

Find the programme on Soundcloud via http://www.ntslive.co.uk