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Recent posts

'Songs From Yesterday' by Joshua Espinoza: a reflection of life and the pandemic

This episode of Harmonious World was particularly easy to record. Pianist  Joshua Espinoza 's trio album  Songs From Yesterday  is delightful and insightful, and chatting to him about it was easy. It's a shame this is a podcast, rather than a video, because Joshua's face lit up when I asked him about performing and recording with his band mates  Kris Monson  (double bass) and  Jaron Lamar Davis  (drums). I think you can hear something of that joy in his voice when talking about the experience. Thanks to Joshua for allowing me to play extracts from  Songs From Yesterday  alongside our conversation. The album is out this week, so do please enjoy it.

'Friday Jazz' brings light in the Sunbeam Theatre

The Sunbeam Theatre at London's Ladbroke Hall is a stunning venue that combines history, culture and design, retaining subtle hints of the outside world as light streams onto the bar from the street outside. For their new 'Friday Jazz' series, they are laying on some extraordinary musicians alongside the architectural, artistic and culinary wonders. The launch night featured  Zhenya Strigalev  with his quintet, joined by guest singer  Lucy-Anne Daniels and the legend that is  Soweto Kinch . Musically and culturally, the evening was a delight and we are all looking forward to more such events at this brand new venue. Soweto Kinch in the shadow of some of Ladbroke Hall's impressive art The music included some surprising and lesser-known tunes like I'm Old Fashioned, Tea for Two, Honeysuckle Rose and After You've Gone . Lucy-Anne produced mature vocal renditions that assure her a long-time place among UK and international jazz vocalists. She is definitely one to

Listen in while Sherri Chung and I discuss music composed for film and television

You may have never heard of Sherri Chung , but you have almost certainly heard some of her music on the film and TV shows we all watch from time to time. We had a fascinating chat for the latest episode of Harmonious World about her background and how she composes within the confines of visual media. If the quality is occasionally a little less than perfect, it's because Sherri was in her car - she's a busy woman. Alongside her composition, she was recently elected the first female governor of the Television Academy's music branch - the people who award the Emmys. Thanks to Sherri for allowing me to play extracts from her scores for  Gremlins  and  Based on a True Story  alongside our conversation.

A new jazz venue comes to London - join us at Ladbroke Hall for 'Friday Jazz'

This weekend sees the start of a new series - Friday Jazz - at London's Ladbroke Hall . The launch event features the marvellous Soweto Kinch and the  Zhenya Strigalev Sextet on Friday 22 September.   Ladbroke Hall began as a car showroom and assembly plant and it seems fitting that a musical genre that is so creative should take over the venue for at least one evening each week. In 1903 Clément-Talbot was formally incorporated "to carry on business as manufacturers of and dealers in horseless carriages and motor-cars, air-ships and the component parts thereof" and that evolved into the factory that put together Sunbeam Talbot cars and then aided in the efforts during the Second World War. So much history in an absolutely stunning building that has been beautifully remodelled as a restaurant and cultural venue. The intention is to bring international artists to the stage and those already booked in for Friday Jazz  would certainly celebrate that aim. 29 September : award-

An album the size of a planet: World Citizen Band ‘Antares’

The global nature of musicians and the music they produce is something that has always fascinated me. From my own early days playing in orchestras and big bands, I've always loved finding out about the context in which music is produced. With Antares, World Citizen Band have produced an album of original jazz that reflects the background and influences of each member of the quintet. Each track on Antares takes the listener on a journey around the planet we call Earth, but with a sense of the planet Antares, which is also known as the heart of the scorpion. This really is a huge album in all senses of the word, reflecting the influences and heritage of each member - individually and collectively. WCB was formed in Berlin in 2013 with the goal of uniting cultures through music, featuring Uri Gurvich - New York, from Israel (saxophone), Ramiro Olaciregui - Berlin, from Argentina (guitar), Marcos Merino - Madrid, from Spain (piano), Kenneth Dahl Knudsen - Aalborg, Denmark (do

Mette Juul and I discuss her forthcoming album 'Celeste'

  'Celeste' is the new album from acclaimed Danish jazz singer, songwriter and guitarist   Mette Juul . This is a collection of classic standard tunes you will recognise and some original tracks which will take your breath away. Mette and I had a conversation for the latest episode of Harmonious World about the choice of tracks and her storytelling alongside Mike Moreno (guitar) and Lars Danielsson (cello, celeste, kalimba, melodica, cymbals, double bass). 'Celeste' is out on  Naxos-Prophone  records on 10 November 2023. Thanks to Mette for allowing me to play extracts from  Celeste  alongside our conversation. Thank you for listening to Harmonious World. Please rate, review and share and don't forget that you can also 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." Suppo

A classy, cohesive quintet - Chris Allard and 'Melodic Collective'

The latest episode of my podcast is out now, featuring a conversation with UK jazz guitarist Chris Allard . 'Melodic Collective' is out now on  Perdido Records , featuring a genuinely classy, cohesive jazz quintet: Chris (guitar),  John Turville (piano), Robbie Robson (trumpet), Oli Hayhurst (bass) and Will Glaser (drums). These are five great individuals who have come together in a genuine collective to produce original, dynamic jazz. It's not an 'easy listening' album, but it is easy to listen to. Each track has a different feel that nevertheless speaks to the quintet as a whole.  It has the live sound that can only be achieved with careful recording (thanks to Mike Trim at Gecko Studios) and promises much from this fledgling collective.