Thursday 18 July 2024

DownBeat Magazine's August 2024 Critics Poll

So many of this year's winners of the DownBeat Magazine's Critics Poll have appeared on Harmonious World, as well as runners-up too numerous to mention. Congratulations to some of these legends:



Big Band: Maria Schneider Orchestra

Composer: Maria Schneider

Soprano Sax: Jane Ira Bloom

Rising Star Big Band: Arturo O'Farrill and the Latin Jazz Ensemble

Do click through to hear our conversations around their brilliant work.

Wednesday 17 July 2024

'The Last Day of Summer' and mutual friends

It's incredible that my path has never crossed with that of Jeff Slate - we have mutual friends and musical experiences going back too long to calculate. It was a joy to chat with him for Harmonious World about his album The Last Day of Summer, which is out now.
Alongside the conversation, you can hear extracts from The Last Day of Summer, and I hope you enjoy listening in.

Thank you for listening to Harmonious World. Please rate, review and share: click on the link and become a subscriber. to support the show.

Don't forget the Quincy Jones quote that sums up why I do this: "Imagine what a harmonious world it would be if every single person, both young and old, shared a little of what he is good at doing."

Tuesday 16 July 2024

A review of Love Supreme for 'The Riff'

You can read a full review of Love Supreme's Saturday on The Riff, with my snap of Billy Cobham and his extraordinary band.

Billy Cobham with his 'Spectrum 50' outfit


Monday 15 July 2024

Dermot Rogers discusses a new re-release from Louis Stewart

The latest episode of Harmonious World features record producer Dermot Rogers.



This is my second chat with record producer Dermot Rogers, around the new re-release of Louis The First from Irish jazz guitarist Louis Stewart.

Alongside the conversation, you can hear extracts from Louis The First, as well as exciting news about plans for the future re-release of more work by this illustrious guitarist, who passed away eight years ago.

Thank you for listening to Harmonious World. Please rate, review and share: click on the link and subscribe to support the show.

Don't forget the Quincy Jones quote that sums up why I do this: "Imagine what a harmonious world it would be if every single person, both young and old, shared a little of what he is good at doing."

Support the Show.

Thanks for listening to Harmonious World. You can support the show by becoming a subscriber.

Monday 8 July 2024

Harmonious World at Love Supreme - bonus episode

The quality of music at this year's Love Supreme was just outstanding. I've produced a brief taster for this Harmonious World bonus episode.



I managed to chat about the correlation between comedy and jazz with Marcus Brigstocke, which was fun. There will be reviews to come on both The Riff and KindOfJazz.


For now, here are a few snaps:

Sananda Maitreya (formerly Terence Trent d'Arby)

My Saturday highlight - Billy Cobham

Chatting with my pal and JazzFM presenter Simon Phillips

Dionne Warwick was very chilled

The wonderful Olatuja

Ursa Major, with Christian McBride

Rosie Frater-Taylor


Sunday 7 July 2024

Catching up with Rosie Frater-Taylor

I caught up with Rosie Frater-Taylor backstage at Love Supreme Festival. We'd already met in May at The Pheasantry in London's Kings Road as part of Nigel Williams' series for Jazz FM.

HS and Rosie Frater-Taylor


When we met on Saturday at Love Supreme, Rosie was enjoying a day at the festival before her own band appeared on the Supreme Standards stage on Sunday evening. Just a few days before, she had helped launch Sean Khan's album with The Modern Folk and Jazz Ensemble, on Acid Jazz.

Since appearing with her band at the Pheasantry (one of the coolest venues in the Pizza Express live family), Rosie had also played Brighton's The Great Escape festival and the Edinburgh fringe.  As well as her own album - Featherweight - she has also appeared with Redtenbacher's Funkestra on their Masterlink Sessions. She had certainly earned a day off, listening to other people's shows.

Collaborations seem to be one of Rosie's strengths, as she develops her own style - her appearance at Love Supreme was her chance to show off her own songs and those of other artists who continue to inspire her. Catch her where you can.

Saturday 6 July 2024

My discovery of Love Supreme (so far)

Having just spent a pleasant half hour in the cool sunshine at Love Supreme, I can safely assert one of my discoveries of the weekend, in the shape of blues guitarist and vocalist Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram.


Kingfish, as he apparently likes to be known, absolutely owned the main stage with his incredible band. He may be young, but he is definitely one to watch. Although predominantly blues, his music crosses all genres, particularly when he sings.

He’s also surrounded himself with similarly adept musicians to produce a huge sound that sits lovingly behind and alongside Kingfish’s guitar. This set was a surprise and a great one.

Friday 5 July 2024

Eran Har Even 'Shorter Days'

I'm working through a backlog of some great albums released in 2024 and one of my favourites comes from guitarist Eran Har Even. He takes eight compositions by sax player, composer and bandleader Wayne Shorter, who sadly died in March 03. The result is Shorter Days.



Wayne Shorter is most famous for his work with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, with Miles Davis and probably known to most for Weather Report. His work on soprano (and tenor) saxophone is legendary, as are many of his compositions and Eran takes a selection of them and arranges them for his own trio. Joined by Omer Govreen (bass) and Wouter Kuhne (drums), the result is a stunning album that brings a 21st century feel to some beautiful classic tracks.

Shorter is one of those sax players who was consistently brilliant (since his DownBeat magazine win as New Star Saxophonist in 1962) and Evan echoes that brilliance in his own style, with his dynamic trio.

One of my favourites from Shorter Days is Evan's take on The Big Push from Shorter's Blue Note album The Soothsayer. Starting and ending wistfully and lyrically, its frenetic centre is both spirited and hypnotic. If you're a newcomer to Evan's (or Shorter's) work, I'd start with this one. But enjoy this album as one musician's insightful and inspirational interpretation of another's work.

Thursday 4 July 2024

Nicole Z's "wild" journey brings her to London

The engaging and Grammy-winning Nicole Zuraitis thrilled the audience at The Pheasantry on London's Kings Road, thanks to the 'Nigel Williams presents ...' series for JazzFM.

Nicole Z and Nigel W in conversation

Joined by Neville Malcolm (bass) and Kai McCrae (drums) who she had met for the first time just a few hours earlier, the impressive pianist and vocalist entertained with standards such as Georgia and Walk On the Wild Side (which was just missing a bit of Bari sax, which I'd have been happy to provide!). However, it was the original tracks which brought Nicole Z's voice to life.

Nicole's excellent album How Love Begins won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album and the night was peppered with the tracks which clarified the Grammy win. Songs like Two Fish and Well Planned, Well Played have a touch of humour and self-deprecation, as well as great musicianship, alongside the stunning Burn, which features Christian McBride (bass and co-producer of the album).
 
The middle of the evening was where JazzFM presenter Nigel Williams led the conversation with Nicole, who described her journey as a vocalist as "wild". I'm happy to have seen and heard this stunning musician in such an intimate venue: I'm sure the next time she's in London, the audience will be considerably larger. Definitely one to watch and hopefully a future guest on Harmonious World.

Wednesday 3 July 2024

Harmonious World - first LIVE episode in front of a studio audience

This is the second episode featuring guitarist Rob Luft and - most excitingly - the FIRST Harmonious World episode recorded in front of an audience. The event was part of Hitchin Festival and I was delighted that Rob was able to join me in conversation and also that he played so much. The audience was thrilled, too.

Photo credit: John Morrow

I want to thank Rob, every member of the audience, Glyn and the team at Hitchin's Market Theatre, plus videographer Julian Newman-Turner, and you can also view the video on YouTube.

Thank you for listening to Harmonious World. Please rate, review and share: click on the link and subscribe to support the show.

Don't forget the Quincy Jones quote that sums up why I do this: "Imagine what a harmonious world it would be if every single person, both young and old, shared a little of what he is good at doing."

Support the Show.

Thanks for listening to Harmonious World. You can support the show by becoming a subscriber.

Tuesday 2 July 2024

Charles Lloyd 'The Sun Will Still Be There Tomorrow'

One of the best albums to come out in recent months is from one of the legends of the saxophone - Mr Charles Lloyd. The Sun Will Still Be There Tomorrow is simply extraordinary.



You'll be able to soon read my full review on Kind of Jazz.

Monday 1 July 2024

'Adi Shakti' from Vidya, featuring guitarist Rob Luft

As I was preparing for tonight's special episode of Harmonious World being recorded live in front of an audience with guitarist Rob Luft, I was delighted to be sent the latest album from singer, pianist and composer Vidya-Liselotte Sundberg, which features Rob.

Vidya with Magnus, Jon and Rob

Adi Shakti is Vidya's third studio album and it has a fascinating story. Building on the sentiment of her second album Papillon, Adi Shakti draws upon the singer's experience of having searched for, found and then lost her biological Indian mother, followed by the death of her adopted Swedish mother in 2022.

The Hindu mantra ‘Adi Shakti’ means ‘Primal Power’, and it was this alongside an extremely moving poem by the 13th century Persian scholar and mystic Rumi that inspired her new music.

“Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing there is a field, I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down on that grass the world is too full to talk about” - Rumi

Adi Shakti also features the exceptionally creative musicians Rob Luft on guitar, Magnus Bergstrom on bass, Jon Falt on drums and additional vocals from Lisa Rydberg.

Speaking about working with Vidya, guitarist Rob Luft says: “Co-composing a piece with Vidya and playing on this album was a real pleasure and a privilege. She’s a hugely talented singer-songwriter and I particularly love the way in which she has given each player huge amounts of musical freedom on this record. There’s ample space for master improvisers Jon Fält & Magnus Bergström to create inventive Nordic jazz textures and rocky grooves, and my own musical voice is ever-present from start to finish.”

Rob's voice really is ever-present. I'm used to hearing his guitar with vocalist Elina Duni, and this is different in style and Vidya's voice, too, allows plenty of space for the other musicians. From the start of 'Woman', there is interweaving lines between Rob, Magnus and Jon and Vidya's vocals. At the same time, there's a simplicity and a complexity - lyrically and melodically.

Listening to this album in preparation for interviewing Rob for the second time for my podcast - in 2020, at the start of the pandemic - reminded me why I was so pleased that he agreed to chat and play live for this special episode of Harmonious World tonight. His work with Vidya sounds deeply spiritual and creative and I'm looking forward to finding out more in our conversation. She is a singer of huge breadth in her songwriting and her singer, and it's clear she gathers around her people who will do her music justice.

Gig listing no 7 - July

Now July has hit and jazz festivals around the world are taking over, with a LOAD of new music out from some fantastic artists. Check out some of these venues and events below, especially those featuring past guests on the Harmonious World podcast:


27 June to 6 July: Montreal Jazz Festival

André 3000, Norah Jones, Hiatus Kaiyote, Laufey, Robert Glasper (L'Événement spécial Rio Tinto), and Orville Peck (Le Grand Événement TD) are among the headliners of the 44th Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (FIJM), presented by TD Bank Group in collaboration with Rio Tinto. From June 27 to July 6, over 350 shows will rock the heart of the city, and two-thirds will be free of charge. With this year’s modern, all-encompassing and diverse program, the FIJM proves once again that jazz knows no boundaries. Find out more

Monday 1 July: The Market Theatre, Hitchin
Harmonious World Live featuring music and conversation with guitarist Rob Luft. Tickets & info: Harmonious World Live

Friday 5 to Sunday 7 July: Love Supreme Festival, Glynde Place
I'll be there! Lots of past and future guests appearing, including Christian McBride. Find out more

Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10 July: Boisdale Belgravia
‘Billie Holiday at Carnegie Hall’ with Riketté Genesis comes to this exciting new Soho jazz joint. The show, which revisits Lady Day’s legendary 1956 Carnegie Hall appearance, features the Alex Webb Quartet and includes many of Billie’s most -loved songs. For tickets & info: Belgravia - British Restaurant and Bar with daily Live… | Boisdale

Friday 12 to Sunday 14 July: NN North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam Ahoy
Billed as the world’s largest indoor music festival, this has some great names announced, including:Sting, Joshua Redman, Jamie Cullum, Cécile McLorin Salvant, John Scofield & Dave Holland, Chucho Valdés, Lizz Wright, Shai Maestro, Laura Misch, Myra Melford, Reuben James, Walter Smith III, Ibrahim Maalouf, a new quartet featuring Chris Potter, Brad Mehldau, John Patitucci and Johnathan Blake and much more. Find out more

Sunday 14 July: Swanage Jazz Festival, Sandpit Field Marquee No.1
Quintet Blue, featuring Denys Baptiste and Nigel Price. A reunion for this hard-swinging band led by Alex Webb with Mikele Montoli (bass) and Alfonso Vitale (drums). For tickets & info: Tickets - Swanage Jazz Festival

Friday 19 July: Brasserie Toulouse Lautrec, 140 Newington Butts, Kennington, London SE11 4RN
Ineza & ‘Women’s Words, Sisters’ Stories’ - the Belgian/Rwandan vocalist returns to south London’s most important jazz venue with her ongoing celebration of the repertoire written or co-written by the great jazz divas themselves, with the Alex Webb Trio. For tickets & info: Ineza & 'Women's Words, Sister's Stories' - Toulouse Lautrec

Friday 26 July: Oliver’s Jazz Bar, 9 Nevada Street, London SE10 9JL
Ineza & ‘Women’s Words, Sisters’ Stories’ - the Belgian/Rwandan vocalist comes to this atmospheric jazz cellar with her ongoing celebration of the repertoire written or co-written by the great jazz divas themselves, with the Alex Webb Trio. For tickets & info: What’s On – Oliver's Jazz Bar (oliversjazzbar.com)

Tuesday 30 July: Boisdale Belgravia, 15 Eccleston Street London SW1 W9LX
Ineza & ‘Women’s Words, Sisters’ Stories’ - the Belgian/Rwandan vocalist comes to this venerable jazz restaurant with her ongoing celebration of the repertoire written or co-written by the great jazz divas themselves, with the Alex Webb Trio. For tickets & info: Belgravia - British Restaurant and Bar with daily Live… | Boisdale

Monday 19 August: Pizza Express, Dean Street, Soho London W1
Ineza & ‘Women’s Words, Sisters’ Stories’ - the Belgian/Rwandan vocalist comes to this key London jazz venue with her ongoing celebration of the repertoire written or co-written by the great jazz divas themselves, with the Alex Webb Trio. For tickets & info: Ineza & Alex Webb Trio in 'Women's Words, Sisters Stories' | Pizza Express Live

Saturday 24 August: Shambala Festival, Northamptonshire, Sankofa Stage
Ineza & ‘Women’s Words, Sisters’ Stories’ - the Belgian/Rwandan vocalist comes to this much-loved music and arts festival with Rosie Turton (trombone), Alex Webb (piano), Charlie Pyne (bass) and Katie Patterson (drums)., exploring the jazz repertoire written or co-written by the great jazz divas themselves. For tickets & info: HOME - Shambala (shambalafestival.org)

Monday 2 September: Pizza Express, Dean Street, Soho London W1
The concert debut of The Pocket Ellington, a seven-piece celebration of the Ellington repertoire with Alan Barnes (reeds), Tony Kofi (tenor), Simon Finch (trumpet), David Lalljee (trombone), Dave Green (bass) and Winston Clifford (drums). As well as clever adaptations of Ellington classics the group also plays music from arranger/composers influenced by the Duke, including Mingus, Monk and Gil Evans. For tickets & info: The Pocket Ellington feat. Tony Kofi & Alan Barnes | Pizza Express Live

Thursday 12 September: Piano Bar Soho, Carlisle St London W1D 3BT
Marvin Muoneke with the Alex Webb Trio. A rare London date by this remarkable jazz vocalist, who toured recently with the Down For The Count Orchestra. Expect spine-tingling versions of the great jazz ballads as well as plenty of uplifting swing. For tickets & info: Piano Bar Soho — Soho Live Music Club

Wednesday 25 September: The Crypt at St Martins In The Fields, Trafalgar Square WC2N 4JJ Celebrating the Sarah Vaughan Centenary: to mark Sassy’s 100th, a show starring Lulu Pierre and Marvin Muoneke which recreates highlights of the Sassy repertoire and the famous duets with Billy Eckstine – as well as her work with Tony Bennett and Joe Williams. With the Alex Webb Quintet, ticket and info: Crypt Lates: Great Jazz Voices - Celebrating the Sarah Vaughan Centenary - St Martin-in-the-Fields

Sunday 29 September: Scarborough Jazz Festival, Scarborough Spa
Big Ben: celebrating saxophonist Ben Webster with Alex Webb & Tony Kofi. Headlining the last night of this venerable jazz festival, a narrated show about this legendary tenor player. The all-star band includes Alan Barnes (reeds), Simon Finch (trumpet), Dave Green (bass) and Clark Tracey (drums); strings are provided by the J.A.M. Collective. The show explores Ben Webster’s musical journey from the 1930s sessions with Billie Holiday, through the Duke Ellington years to the 1950s recordings for Norman Granz and his later years in Europe, and his work with strings. For tickets & info: Box Office & Customer Support | Scarborough Spa

Friday 4 October: Pump House Theatre, 5 Local Board Rd, Watford WD17 2JP
Celebrating the Sarah Vaughan Centenary: to mark Sassy’s 100th, a show starring Lulu Pierre and Marvin Muoneke, which recreates highlights of the Sassy repertoire and the famous duets with Billy Eckstine – as well as her work with Tony Bennett and Joe Williams. With the Alex Webb Quintet, ticket and info: Sarah Vaughan Centenary – Pump House Watford

Friday 15 to Sunday 24 November: EFG London Jazz Festival
There are some incredible gigs coming in already for this year's London Jazz Festival, including a raft of great options at Cadogan Hall.


Ongoing
* My newest discovery is Jazz Cafe Posk in Hammersmith: a great, relaxed venue

* Check out one of my favourite venues - London's marvellous 606 Club

* In Milton Keynes, there's also the Stables Theatre, which often features live music

* Different venues, plus lots of music on offer at Boisdale in Belgravia and Canary Wharf

* Lots to see and hear at Kings Place, right next to Kings Cross and St Pancras

* Don't forget Ronnie Scott's, which has a range of jazz to suit all tastes (closed throughout August, so go now or book for September)