Monday, June 25, 2007

Singers and jazz

Are we about to re-enter a phase where singers in jazz can be more "singer songwriters" again, and we get away from the singers who have to live by just performing jazz standards or similar. On Babel, Christine Tobin has been doing this all along, but it's frustrating that someone like her has not yet got the full recognition that she deserves. (Christine plays Margate Jazz Festival at the Winter Gardens with the BBC Big Band next week.)
I have heard other singers with such imagination around. I'm doing a new album by Lleuwen Steffan, and recently I have been in contact with Paula Rae Gibson. A bit of a renaissance woman, as she's a photographer and poet as well. She bravely uses her experiences in her writing, while she is proud of the strong influence of Keith Jarrett on her music. Her next gig is on Thursday at Momo's, off Regent Street.
Lleuwen is equally strong on using herself as the basis of her writing. "Cocaine kills, but so does love" - what a lyric! She'll be at the Vortex on 17 July. I hope that the album will be out in early Autumn.
I really can't understand why the music world seems to feel that standards and jazz singers as accessories are what counts. The musicians are thought incapable of having original thought?
Christine, Lleuwen and Paula prove this wrong.

Friday, June 08, 2007

BBC Jazz award nominations

The full BBC Jazz Award nominations were announced yesterday. I reckon that the list is OK, in that any of the winners do the UK jazz scene reasonably proud. I am quite proud that the number of artists with Babel connections is quite high this year, namely:

Best instrumentalist:
Julian Siegel - stalwart of Partisans
Liam Noble - on albums by Christine Tobin and Let's Call This with Ingrid Laubrock

Rising Star:
Tom Arthurs - Centripede, Squash Recipe, Mesmer
James Allsopp - Fraud

Best album:
Tom Cawley plays with Acoustic Ladyland

Best group:
Finn Peters - Su-Ling

As they say on the Fast Show: NICE!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Lost London jazz venues

I am creating a map on Google which shows venues in London that have been lost, either because they are no longer physically there or because the music side has vanished. Make comments here, or send me your addresses to
I've got a few, but what about the shops such as Mole, Dobell's, Ray's and venues like the Little Theatre, location of WAC where many musicians learnt at the feet of Ian Carr?