Thursday, December 12, 2013

Babel Babble - an occasional look at some of the albums that arrive in my collection

With the demise of Babel Babble on NTS, I no longer have a radio outlet, for now at least, where I can show off some of the varied selection of albums that I accrue over time. Some bought, some given to me out of kindness, others because they want gigs or release albums.

Of course, the activities that I can undertake to get the music heard through my own connections is limited, but, via a blog like this, I can at least make a few other people aware of some of these releases.

The dates of the albums are variable, and, if you want to search further, do feel free to email me to ask, or use the tried and tested methods of the internet world. Google, Soundcloud, Bandcamp and so on.

Generally, I'll just write a sentence to give a quick feel but these are not reviews as such. I find them difficult to write, as I'm not a professional scribe of that type. It's pretty random, but feel free to hunt around.

So here we go with a selection:

Aki Takase, Han Bennink - Two for Two (Intakt). A masterful duo of the Berlin pianist and Dutch drummer. Just having read an article in the latest French Jazz magazine about duos turns me back on to this music form. Her new My Ellington is also a must.

Collider - Nantbach & Sandwich. A grand quartet from the North. Chris Sharkey, Matthew Bourne, Dave Kane and Chris Bussey. Free download here:

Corin Curschellas - Rappa Nomada. (Musikszene Schweiz). It must be at least 20 years old as an album. An imaginative singer, with songs in Romantsch as well as English. Features Steve Arguelles and Christy Doran (a guitarist never heard here in London) among others.

Cruz Control - Le Comment du Pourquoi. Good grooves from Eastern Belgium, I heard them live at Gaume Jazz Festival.

Philip Catherine - Coté Jardin. This is the album with which he celebrated his 70th birthday in 2012. He plays with his Belgian quartet. Not too difficult on the ear,  it was great to have him at the London Jazz Festival with John Etheridge.

Stian Westerhus/Sidsel Endresen - Didymoi Dreams. Improvised soundscapes from my dear friend Stian work together with the improvisations of Endresen.

Stevko Busch, Paul van Kemenade, Markus Stockhausen, Markku Ounaskari - Fugara (DNL). A generally gentle quartet from Holland, though it picks up on Stevko's Russian roots through the melodies (rather than the manic idioms).  There's also a duo, Contemplation (Kemenade, Busch).

Tingvall Trio - Vagen. This is one of the "happening" piano trios at present in Germany led by pianist Martin Tingvall.

Pablo Held Trio - Music.  Another German trio.  I have heard this trio several times through my trips as part of Radio Jazz Research. The trio just toured a couple of dates with Kit Downes' trio. The rhythm section of Landfermann and Burgwinkel is one of the most in-demand in Germany now and Burgwinkel's own band includes Julian Arguelles.

Papanosh - Your Beautiful Mother. A thoughtful and energetic quintet from France, which was part of their Jazz Migration scheme last year. Judicious use of keyboard and the horn arrangements make this band sound larger than it is.

Paul Dunmall/Mark Sanders - Pipe & Drum. Going to a Dunmall gig, he unleashes a whole range of albums to buy (usually for just £5). A whole cross section of bagpipes, mostly of the more lyrical variety fortunately.

Pete Cooper/Richard Bolton - Turning Point. Violin and cello, though of course Rick is also known as a guitarist. Pete is one of the leading folk violin educators around. I find the changing rhythms mesmeric and disturbing equally.

Pigfoot - 21st Century Acid Trad. Village Life continues. Batchelor, Noble, Marshall, Clarvis. Their view of trad goes way beyond anywhere. Reverential in attitude if not in approach. Just arrived, it's recorded from 2 Vortex gigs earlier this year. To be filed with the heartfelt Clarvis/Noble duo Starry Starry Night and the early Babel release of the masterpiece of miniatures, Blue Moon In A Function Room.

Stan Tracey/Keith Tippett - Supernova. Beauteous two piano trio which we'll never be able to hear live again. Stan was everywhere through his life but always distinctive. I have even found a version of him with Acker Bilk doing Stranger on the Shore (from 1968 I think).

Here's a start. Email me on

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