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Django Bates. Luleå, Sweden, 2013
Photo credit John Kelman. All Rights Reserved
Stan Tracey won an Ivor Award for Jazz in 2012... John Surman was awarded one in 2017... and today at a ceremony at Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane in London, Django Bates became the third winner.

The citation states : "A musical polymath and prodigiously gifted composer, Bates has been at the heart of Britain’s jazz scene for the last 40 years. The award acknowledged his unique and exceptional talent and his relentless drive to collaborate and seek out new possibilities to explore where jazz can go." 

The full list of award winners is below. Django Bates will be at Wigmore Hall on 14 July with a new project with his trio and Evan Parker. It will be a double celebration of Evan Parker’s 75th birthday and a look ahead to Charlie Parker’s centenary next year. Speaking as he received the award, Django Bates said that above all he took the honour very seriously, that it was very important to him, and that he was glad that the Ivors include jazz in the awards.

LINK: Ivors Academy Website
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Huw Warren
Publicity photo
Peter Bacon reports:

Mix the current resident artists of Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama with its students and alumni and you get the AmserJazzTime Festival guest programme, which runs at the Cardiff College's Dora Stoutzker Hall and foyer from Thursday to Sunday, 6-9 June 2019. It celebrates the Royal Welsh College’s 70th anniversary.

Here is the programme according to the College's press release:


Thurs 6 June 7.30pm 
SNOWPOET
Led by graduate of the college, multi-instrumentalist Chris Hyson, along with vocalist Lauren Kinsella, Snowpoet’s music is infectious and delicate. They’ve won rave reviews for their compelling sound and a reputation as one of the most innovative and creative new bands in the UK today.
Tickets £12, £10 concessions (Under 25s £6)
Dora Stoutzker Hall

Fri 7 June 7.30pm
HANNAH GRACE
Hailing from Bridgend, Hannah’s training at the College has led her into a successful career as a jazz and soul inspired singer and songwriter.
Tickets £12, £10 concessions (Under 25s £6)
Dora Stoutzker Hall

Sat 8 June 6.45pm
RWCMD BIG BAND 
The College’s Big Band, led by drummer Alex Goodyear, celebrates the music of American band-leader Bob Curnow. 
Admission Free
Foyer

Sat 8 June 8pm 
HUW WARREN & JOVINO SANTOS NETO
Renowned Welsh jazz pianist and lover of Brazilian music Huw Warren joins forces with Jovino Santos Neto for a playful evening of Brazilian inspired piano and accordion duos, and guests.
Tickets £12, £10 concessions (Under 25s £6)
Dora Stoutzker Hall

Sun 9 June 5pm 
ATLAS FT. SARA COLMAN
Graduate Rebecca Nash rounds off the festival with her highly-charged band Atlas and the beautiful vocals of Sara Colman.
Admission Free
Foyer

There is also a chance to enjoy a host of free performances by Royal Welsh College students with free sets throughout the festival, including our AmserJazzTime foyer sessions that week on week present the very best emerging jazz artists. Check the website for a full timetable.

LINK: Tickets for events in the Dora Stoutzker Hall can be purchased through the Royal Welsh College Box Office or online here.
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Mark Dresser Seven – Ain't Nothing But A Cyber Coup & You
(Clean Feed Records. CD review by Dan Bergsagel)

Sounding more like a group of outlaws than a jazz ensemble, the Magnificent Mark Dresser Seven pack musical infamy even if they aren't packing heat. Masterminded by the prolific Mark Dresser himself, on his latest adventures he is accompanied regular collaborators, including the versatile and quick-fingered Marty Ehrlich and the sparky rhythm duo of Joel White and Jim Black.

More than simply a well-balanced skillful septet, the Seven combine on Ain't Nothing but a Cyber Coup & You to produce a record combining energetic dystopia with reflective analysis, exploring deeply personal loss and sadness as much as it explores our collective political ones.

For an avant-garde compositional bandit like Dresser, the record is conceptually formal: six (approximately) ten-minute pieces sandwiching brief minute-long stripped down interludes built around the steel rods of the unusual instrument, the McLagan Tines. Like a wine pairing at a tasting menu, each sets the scene for the following track. Pre-Maria is a tension-building purr before the bass and percussion scuttle, rattle and splat into Let Them Eat Paper Towels, a piece inspired by the response (or lack of) from the administration to support Puerto Rico post hurricane Maria. Essentially a sombre thing, it flits from anguished violin breaks to a keys trot loose adaptation of Que Bonita Bandera, winding up and up, always with a hint of unhinged chaos, until finally it snaps into an abrupt halt.

Embodied in Seoul is about peace – intercontinental, maybe inter-peninsula – but an elusive, scratching, peace. And again Kier GoGwit's violin is a key piece, providing much of the scene-setting and melodic lead; an evocative sound well used. Together the group builds into a sweeping melodic train and climax, the keys jumping nimbly right through it. Gloaming leads with a resonant double bass welcome, vibrating on two-levels and an additional violin string pairing before an earnest keys turn and rich flute. Described as a 'parametric waltz', it develops with all the instruments waltzing to the same song, but each dancing slightly apart, on their own in the room.

While carefully crafted and well thought out, the record is at its most ear-catching when arriving with the unstoppable momentum of the Seven in full flow. Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You has a furious piano intro, eventually joined by sharp uplift kick, more hip hop beat than anything else, and nimble equally furious bass lines. Clarinet and violin laments are delivered over a high-paced rhythm section uniting regularly on the theme, vamping between ripping keys and drums, and returning to a two-chord theme, like a siren, throughout.

Black Arthur's Bounce hangs on a rolling melody running through the piece with urgency and a continuing momentum only to be brought to frequent stop/starts for regrouping. The melody lead shifting from the prominent trombone of Michael Dessen, to the violin letting through an alto swagger, and crisp flute of Nicole Mitchell cutting through before a frenetic piano flourish. It's a bit of an improvisational showcase from the whole ensemble, as indeed is the whole.

The liner notes touch on Dresser's embrace of political discourse in his pieces, and a sardonic dystopia inspired by Mingus – particularly the enticing juxtaposition in the title track and the cruel surrealism of Let Them Eat Paper Towels, spotlighting the nefarious interference of an imperial presidency in the first cut, and a much more nefarious lack of interference in the latter. However I'd posit that instead, as a strong composer and double bass band leader embracing hints of chaos in a multi-melody tune, tracks like Black Arthur's Bounce are when Dresser most fuses some of the Mingus approach with bits of '70s AACM Chicago filtered through an '80s Anthony Braxton.

The record as a whole is pieced together with these small, open-stitched interludes, but from beginning to end they slip from playful to increasingly more agitated. So it is some reassurance that we finish with the soothing Butch's Balm, in memory of teacher and pianist Butch Lacy – reflecting the more energetic opener in memory of Arthur Blythe. Tender, slow start with considered minimal piano composition, this weaves along the clean melancholy of Joaquin Rodrigo, the slow gravitas of Erik Satie, with the timbre of Tan Dun. Percussive brushes, the bass as if in quarter time. A slow machine scene.

First impressions of Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You may be of political collapse and technological crime – on the face of it this is very much a current affairs statement; however I'd argue this is a record more rooted in the past than looking emboldened into a bleak future. Sure, there is a tinge of chaotic despair, but there are also real affirmations of the precedence of human connections: in memories of people like Blythe, Lacey, and of tender moments gone by. As a whole the thought and careful composition on these buoyant moments outshines the current realpolitik and wargames of the rest. Political comment or to one side, Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You is an excellent and powerful album from a talented ensemble with no weak links, and led deftly by a contemporary compositional force.
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Four plus Three plus John Williams
Photo credit: Tatiana Gorilovsky
Sebastian writes: 

The newest piece, maybe even the centrepiece at last Wednesday's album launch of Georgia Mancio and Kate Willliams' new album Finding Home featured neither of them, but rather guitarist John Williams and the Guastalla String Quartet playing a new arrangement of Ravel's Menuet from the Tombeau de Couperin. It really was about six minutes of heaven, of beauty, grace, something very special. I hope they record it.

It also served as a reminder above all what an incredibly rich seam of inspiration Kate Williams has found as a composer since the "Bill Evans and the Impressionists" project in 2014. In a sense it has come full circle and back to Ravel – or maybe he has been present in spirit all along.

It is now five years since Kate came to Kings Place and did a podcast interview with us (HERE) and  described (and also demonstrated!) the creative spark that had been ignited when she noticed appealing harmonic affinities between Ravel and Bill Evans, and how that had led to a project with orchestra. That led in turn to the "Four Plus Three" project, with the quartet of players from the orchestra who had enjoyed playing the repertoire and wanted to do more. And very good players they are; the sheer quality and strength and refinement of the string playing have clearly been significant factors in pushing this collaboration forward and giving it life.

John Williams at the 606 Club
Photo credit: Tatiana Gorilovsky
John Williams' expression in this photo palpably captures his joy. And it doesn't take much imagination to think of a possible explanation for it: the guitarist's musical path and that of his daughter have virtually never crossed professionally... that is until relatively recently. Another side to this story, and why the 606 was the right – maybe the only – place possible for the launch, is that it was club  proprietor Steve Rubie who made it happen. Kate Williams explained that story in 2017 in another interview.

Georgia Mancio
Photo credit: Tatiana Gorilovsky
This album launch was a special occasion,  the highly emotional culmination of a close two-year collaboration between Kate Williams and Georgia Mancio. The issues which the songs on the album deal with are preoccupations which both artists share. They do talk about suffering, but it is always filtered through a sense of appreciation of the beauty of the human spirit, of what the Quakers call "that of God in every man". The two musicians share common beliefs and this collaboration is clearly something they both enjoy and will pursue. And they have some great songs to sing, that stay very pleasantly in the mind. Their Victor Jara Caminando Caminando and the Broadbent/Mancio song The Journey Home are real ear-worms and Georgia sings them with a grace, a musicality and an authenticity that are very affecting.

"I firmly believe that joy is more fertile than suffering," wrote Maurice Ravel in 1905. That credo seems to be at the core of the story of this happy collaboration – which is surely going to have more chapters .

The remaining tour dates are listed HERE
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Sara Dowling
Photo: Steven Tagg Randall

Peter Bacon reports:

In the words of The Dude, from The Big Lebowski: Swanage Jazz Festival abides! Swanage was at risk again after last year's festival but in January it was announced that a new organising committee had been formed and now the 30th festival has just launched its programme. Here are some quotes from the press release:

Headlining the two-day festival on Saturday 13 July are Swanage favourites Gilad Atzmon and The Orient House Ensemble, The David Newton-Art Themen Duo, The Nigel Price Quartet and Greg Abate with the Craig Milverton Trio.

Sunday’s Headliners include the sextet Hexagonal performing their tribute to McCoy Tyner and Bheki Mseleku, fast-rising singer Sara Dowling and her Quartet, popular vibes man Roger Beaujolais and Bossa Nova specialist Earl Okin...

The programme features at least 40 bands and the new organising committee have taken the opportunity of featuring some high quality regional talent including the Art Blakey inspired ‘Sound of Blue Note’,  Tenor sax player Ian Ellis, described by the late Sir John Dankworth as ‘outstanding’,  the South African-flavoured Philip Clouts Trio, the Afro-beat focussed Thokozile and the electric jazz-funk sounds of Harry Skinner’s Funkasaurus.  The full 2019 Festival programme is viewable on the Festival website and Facebook page.

The Festival Early Bird tickets sold out in less than two hours. Advance Weekend Stroller tickets are priced at £75 and are selling steadily with day tickets priced at £45.  These prices will rise to £85 and £50 from 1 July. Some individual concerts may be available on the day, subject to availability.

Festival Chair, Paul Kelly said, “Swanage Jazz Festival has always attracted a good crowd to this picturesque seaside town and created a jazz family atmosphere. In spite of having to scale back a bit this year, we are delighted to present another strong and wide-ranging programme of outstanding talent. It’s going to be a great weekend that jazz enthusiasts really should not miss.”

Tickets are available online from the Festival website www.swanagejazzfestival.co.uk  in person from the Swanage Tourist Information Centre or the Town’s Mowlem Theatre and by post from: Dave Roper, Treasurer, Swanage Jazz Festival 10 Globe Close, Swanage BH19 2RF
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Laura Jurd's Dinosaur
Photo: Dave Stapleton
Peter Bacon reports:

The line-up of this year's Herts Jazz Festival (the ninth) at the Rhodes Arts Complex in Bishop's Stortford on the weekend of 27-29 September shows a rich and creative mix of established players and young risers, together with a couple of tributes to classic albums and a mix of jazz and film.

Here is most of the press release:

The Festival will feature headliner gigs from Seamus Blake with the French Connection and Clark Tracey’s Allstars revisiting two classic albums by Charles Mingus and Art Blakey.

We start on the Friday night with the Herts Jazz Film festival, showing Buster Keaton’s ‘Steamboat Bill Jr’ with live keyboard accompaniment from Gareth Williams and the premiere of the re-edited and updated ‘Spike Wells – A Love Supreme’, which Spike will personally introduce. Gareth then winds up the night playing in the bar with his Trio.

Tom Dunnett
Publicity picture
Saturday’s line-up includes Tom Dunnett’s Sextet, Graham Harvey, Quentin Collins’ Sextet and Art Themen/Steve Melling Duo. These are followed by a celebration of the 60th anniversary of Ronnie Scott’s by some of the musicians who played at the Soho club and then Clark’s tributes to the two 1959 iconic albums, “Mingus Ah Um” and “Moanin’”. The jazz keeps coming with Leon Greening in the bar until midnight.
Art Themen and Zoza Kole's (formerly Xhosa Cole) Sextet
Photo: Mike O'Brien
Sunday is kicked off by regular Festival performers, Herts Youth Jazz Ensemble, followed by Alan Barnes Octet, Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier in the bar and Laura Jurd’s Dinosaur. The Festival comes to a climax with Art Themen and Zoza Kole’s Sextet and finally Seamus Blake.

Clark Tracey, Festival Director said, “It’s great to bring our Festival to Bishop’s Stortford and a venue steeped in jazz history. As always with Herts Jazz, the emphasis is on great jazz – past and present. We are celebrating a special year in jazz – 1959 - when Ronnie Scott’s first opened and two classic albums were released. We’ve also great young talent on show: Tom Dunnett, Laura Jurd and Zoza Kole amongst many others. A Festival for everyone!”

The Festival is being supported by Arts Council England, J Samuel Pianos and Cambridge Drums.
Seamus Blake
Photo: Kristin Blid
Weekend and Day tickets are now on sale at “early-bird” discounted prices until 30 June.
Weekend £110/£90 Herts Jazz Club members/£70 students.
Saturday £65/£55/£45
Sunday £55/£45/£35

Friday night tickets are also on sale now (limited capacity).

All seats are allocated – so the sooner you book, the more choice you have!

Gig tickets go on sale 1 July.

Tickets can be booked online at hertsjazzfestival.co.uk and rhodesartscomplex.co.uk
Telephone bookings at 01279 710200
Book in person at Rhodes Arts Complex, 1-3 South Road, Bishop’s Stortford CM23 3JG
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Clive Fenner
Photo courtesy of East Side Jazz Club
Clive Fenner, who made a massive contribution to London's jazz scene, passed away at the end of April. In this tribute his close friend Simon Purcell remembers a remarkable man:

How do you do justice to a friend’s life? I knew Clive Fenner initially as a musician and educator. I also played volleyball with him but never football (at which he excelled). Neither did I accompany him fishing – he was a highly accomplished angler and pioneer of some methods of carp fishing. This obituary isn’t a comprehensive description or litany of regrets. Instead it is the inevitably incomplete tribute to a great friend with whom I shared a lot of life and a heartfelt thank you for introducing himself to my life and contributing to my experience and understanding of the world.

Many musicians and jazz lovers know Clive through the East Side Jazz Club in East London, while hundreds more students were transformed through their experiences of Jazz, Cuban music and educational companionship on his summer schools in Cuba and the South of France.

I first met Clive Fenner in May 1993, when he attended community jazz workshops in Forest Gate, East London. Although he had worked on the fringes of the pop world in the 1970s and '80s, drumming wasn’t a realistic professional proposition at the time but after more than 10 years working as an educational philosopher, training teachers, Clive was at a crossroads, intent on replacing the sanctity and respectability of academe with a drum-kit, and the crimes and misdemeanours of the jazz lifestyle. We soon hit it off discussing jazz and educational philosophy, each of us eager to delve more into each other’s specialism. At this time, he began highly demanding lessons with the great American drummer Clifford Jarvis and later with the internationally acclaimed drum teacher Bob Armstrong. Not many people are aware that although Clifford was an extremely challenging person at the time, they formed a close friendship, Clive supporting him through his final illness (thank you to Nigel Tame for this information).

Pivotally, shortly after that first workshop season Clive asked me how to get gigs. My advice was to “find a pub that will allow you to play with some good players” and that is exactly what happened, Clive immediately creating the East Side Jazz Club in October 1993. The rest as they say is history. The switch had been pressed and off he went, hosting and playing at 30 gigs a year in East London.

What Jazz Umbrella and the East London Jazz Project had attempted with groups of musicians, Clive at first managed singlehandedly, in the process bringing many of the UK’s major artists to the venue. There was a deep sense of community and fairness to Clive’s work. As a result, gigs were affordable to the community, musicians were paid a decent fee and he constantly reached out to younger musicians to perform at the club. While current tributes from musicians are characterised by gratitude for the gigs and respect for his resilience, the local audience point to Clive’s invitational personality and absence of airs and graces. He was morally committed to jazz in the community and it is perhaps his local community that understood him and have valued him even more. High art in East London is one thing and sometimes playing at “Clive’s” was a bit like appearing in a Mike Leigh film or Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, complete with plastic foliage (if you’ve been there you’ll know) but that was all part of the attraction and perhaps its longevity.

Furtive philosopher.

The jazz community is largely unaware of Clive’s expertise in Teacher Education and that for many years he contributed to and led courses at various institutions including the Institute of Education, Havering College and until several years ago at Roehampton College.

It was always a treat to hear Clive discuss jazz in relation to Plato, John Dewey and the great Scottish educationalist Laurence Stenhouse (with whom Clive almost studied for a Ph.D) and although our banter was that he preferred to talk about jazz, on the rare occasions when he could be nudged into full disclosure, his discourse about curriculum was inspiring and expressed with alacrity, wit and detail. To his credit he was also extremely sensitive about professional vocabularies and didn’t want to create misunderstanding or elicit the “educrap” complaint from the more cynical jazzers. I think he would smile now, remembering how he would brand me a Platonist if I expressed a preference for Charlie Parker over John Bonham. Sometimes that would be as far as we would get philosophically!

However, it wasn’t all banter and I often sought Clive’s educational counsel. Back in 2002 he was an expert “reader” for my own research (into student-centered curriculum in jazz) prior to publication, and his guidance and informal mentoring has had a profound influence on my own work at a curricular level. Similarly, conversations spanning more than two decades about education as product and process, and the philosophical dilemmas about education as induction or Plato and absolutism were always something I cherished and which informed my work. Our discourse influenced the ways in which I have developed the curriculum in several institutions, and has in turn been shared within the UK conservatoire sector, and impacted upon thinking within the Association of European Conservatoires and beyond. Ways in which jazz students are assessed was indirectly influenced by discussions with Clive, certainty during the formative period of jazz in Higher Education in England. Of course, I told Clive of these things, recently phoning him from a conference in Norway, enthusing that “finally” Europe was on board about a shared educational value, but as usual we were quickly back to discussing drums, carp or food!

Life-long learning and Summer Schools

In many ways, Clive embodied the aspirations of many of his students. He worked at his music with immense determination and application, developing his technique through extensive practice and lessons over many years. He often recounted that as much as he loved the lifestyle and the music, the journey was never easy, indeed Clifford and Bob had been extremely hard task-masters, making serious demands of Clive’s time to meet their practice assignments. However he took pride in the process and it is my impression that with the release of two CDs, (Get It! 2013 and Get Up! 2017) and particularly in the last two to three years since his diagnosis, Clive had finally found some ease (and less angst) in his playing, finally allowing himself to play for fun. I think he really enjoyed the last couple of years playing.

Clive’s other community were his courses in Cuba and in the South of France.

The first Mediterranean Jazz Summer School took place in a very rural part of France, in 1996, Clive supported by his wife Hazel and a tutor team that included Steve Berry, Martin Hathaway and myself. Since then many musicians have worked with Clive (see tutor list) and the course has flourished and expanded steadily ever since. Clive and Sue Stothard (his right-hand woman) have worked tirelessly to ensure that students experience learning in a supportive and transformative environment. It would be inappropriate to make comparisons with other summer schools as they are all magnificent but Clive’s courses were very magnificent too. While he rarely taught on his courses, he was a great “boss” with a deep vision of community learning, and who understood the richness and diversity of students’ needs and the paramount importance of placing learning in the context of deep community and fun. Here he was facilitator, generously enabling us to experience some deeply transformative moments. That was his gift. The Cuba Course began in 2003 and has operated with similar success with similar emphases upon learning, community and fun.

You will hopefully gather that Clive was a doer, he made things happen. There is far too much to mention here but there were some amusing tales such as: being blindfolded in a basement in Bourges and subsequently inducted in to Le Bonnet Rouge (an ancient French revolutionary sect – I think?); the day he met Miss Universe; meeting Herbie Hancock while out for a walk in Cuba; being wined and dined by the Governor of a Caribbean Island who was under the impression that he was an international trader. And more…

The summer schools were the most intense times with Clive, where we shared many highs and a few lows but the saddest loss for me is the loss of a friend whom I saw or spoke to nearly every day and whose values, perspectives and sense of fun have blended so much with my own. Clive Fenner was a musician, an educator and philosopher, great angler, decent footballer, cook and some would say “reluctant hedonist”, he loved the arts and in many ways was a contemporary Renaissance Man whom I respected and loved a lot.

I know you liked making a racket on those drums, Clive, but you had a great, inspirational (and funny) mind too. We miss you.

Simon Purcell
Clive Fenner. 6 June 1949 – 28 April 2019
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Leïla Martial: Baa Box – Warm Canto
(Laborie Jazz CD.LJ48. CD review by Sebastian Maniura)

Vocalist, clown and improvisor Leïla Martial releases her third album, Warm Canto, on 24 May. It features her trio Baa Box. The album focuses around the human voice, mostly hers, stretching its physical and musical capabilities. Made up of Martial, voice, glockenspiel and senza (thumb piano); Eric Perez, voice and guitar; and Pierre Tereygeol, voice, guitar and percussion, the trio explores looping, vocal effects and layered patterns to create an interesting and lively tone palate.

Growing up in a musical family, Martial studied at the Marciac Village Music College from the age of ten, later continuing her studies at Collège Jazz de Marciac, the home of the Jazz in Marciac festival. Leïla was torn between the career of an actress or a singer; it was her 2009 Concours de la Défense win that led her to pick music. Two albums followed; 2012’s Dance Floor, and 2017’s Baable, with Baa Box. The trio, according to her website, is named after the “baa” made by goats. This is because a goat “does not look for aesthetics, it IS". The trio’s previous album was based on “epic rock,” the new album represents something quite different. This is another step on her self-professed journey of developing a magical musical language based on improvisation.

A large part of it is made up of beautiful, intricate vocalisation intertwined with looped vocal harmonies, percussive sung phrases and supportive guitar lines. The press release for the album states that it is influenced by “vocal possibilities beyond a Western framework, including Romani, Pygmée and Inuit”. Songs such as Nuit Pygmée showcase the range of Martial’s shape-shifting vocalisation, jumping from flowing lines to staccato, twisted, disjointed phrases. The band use loops to create a full and energetic sound on Serendipity, one of the albums rockier numbers, with its use of effect pedals on the vocals. The layering of the vocal lines give the effect of a choir supporting the song.

In the slower, more poignant numbers such as Le sourire du clown the instrumental aspect of the band is featured more prominently; creating an uneasy, creaking, rattling sound-world with feverish percussive tapping, slow and steady guitar lines and shimmering, sometimes quite creepy, vocalisations accompanied by glockenspiel. Jeanne allows the guitar to be more than just an accompanying instrument. Positioned seventh in the twelve-song order it is a welcome momentary break from the album's fairly continuous vocal focus.

There is always a danger when using loop pedals and layered vocal lines that the music you make, especially if collated into an album, will be repetitive and aesthetically similar. Warm Canto does repeat textures and ideas, however this doesn't hinder ones enjoyment of the music. Focusing more on the voice and its musical possibilities rather than using it as a means to an end in the song-writing process brings about interesting and fresh material. This is an accessible, enjoyable album with some real vocal gems embedded within.

Leïla Martial: Baa Box play the Manchester Jazz Festival on 26 May.

LINK: mjf concert details and booking
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Chris Legee in September 2018
Photo courtesy of Michael S Klein
Michael S Klein remembers his friend Chris Legee who passed away last week. Boston (US)-born Chris was an indefatigable activist on the London vocal jazz scene. Michael writes:

Chris passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep on Wednesday 15 May 2019.

What can I tell you about Chris Legee you haven't heard already? People stopped her in the street,on the bus, and asked whether they could photograph her! She was a walking artpiece! She was more importantly a shining and colourful example of how to be human. Her kindness is legion and she always evinced concern and compassion for others. She was a tireless networker well known in the London jazz milieu.

She was Sheila Jordan’s agent for England! Last year she and I made an album of Sheila's 2010 performance with the Brian Kellock trio and Tori string guartet called 'Sheila Jordan, Live in London' to commemorate Sheila's 90th year.Chris's long-running vocal jazz open mic.event will celebrate its 22nd birthday next month and She is loved,missed and mourned,by many! There is so much more! Workshops at her home with international artists, a series of live demo recording workshops at Schotts Music and she loved to sing! Suffice to say this extraordinary person will live on in our hearts and minds! A light has gone out in the Cosmos!

Flora Christine Legee (21 June 1941 – 15 May 2019)

Michael S Klein is a singer/songwriter, record producer sometime music studio and record label proprietor.
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Supplied publicity photo
Peter Bacon reports:

News of money for jazz is always welcome. We've just received this press release from the Brussels Jazz Orchestra:

In January 2020, Brussels Jazz Orchestra will hold its eighth International Composition Contest. One of the most important international competitions for jazz composition, its focus is on premiering new pieces written specifically for big band instrumentation. Brussels Jazz Orchestra endeavours to encourage talented international composers and arrangers all over the world and offer them a stage with this competition. In addition, it aims to forge ties for the future with composers from all over the world.

The contest is for composers for contemporary jazz orchestra. Composers can participate by sending in a work they have written themselves for the preselection, in the form of a live recording and a score, by 30 September 2019 at the latest.

Following the preselection round, the names of four composers selected for the final will be announced on 15 October 2019. These four finalists will be commissioned to write a final piece for Brussels Jazz Orchestra.

The finalists’ compositions will be played on 12 January 2020 by the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, conducted by the finalists themselves. An international jury will choose the winner of the BJO International Composition Contest 2020.

The winner will receive a cash prize of €2000, and a professional audio and video recording of the premiere of his or her composition, performed by Brussels Jazz Orchestra.

LINK: For more information and applications
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