Monday, August 27, 2007

Richard Cook

I have just heard that journalist Richard Cook has died of cancer. Hardly reached the age of 50, and an important advocate for jazz. The Wire at the end of the 80s, and his radio show on BBC GLR both acted for me as ways in which I developed my knowledge of jazz and got sucked in myself. If it weren't for the Penguin Guide to Jazz and other writing, then the state of knowledge of jazz today would be all the less. He was always sympathetic to what Babel was about, and for that I'm flattered. Indeed he contributed to the start of Babel through discussions that I had with him about the possibility of Billy Jenkins being released on Verve. The album that would have resulted, Suburbia, came out in the end on Babel. Billy has written a tribute from the musician viewpoint on his web site. He was nervous about releasing albums about South East London and suburbia!
There's a nice interview with him on with a positive enthusiasm for this music.
"I still hear exciting new music in what I would continue call the idiom of jazz every day. It's become fashionable to describe jazz as being `over', that other musics are fresher and more exciting, that hip hop is the new jazz, Wynton Marsalis has killed everything, blah, blah, blah....these are judgments from people who don't do their homework, I'm afraid."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

New Vortex record label

The Vortex is setting up a new record label as an imprint of Babel. The first artist signed is the Portico Quartet. The album, "Knee Deep In The North Sea" will be out in November. It's a nice backwards combination of the label and the live side. There's more of a partnership element involved and I am sure that the Vortex can benefit in terms of its name recognition from the band. They are great guys, busking every week outside the National Theatre and remind me of a cross between Penguin Cafe Orchestra and minimalism, but using the hang, which looks like a wok but sounds like a steel pan. Know any good porticos for photographs?