Sunday, December 14, 2008
About 3 years ago I was invited to play on Harry Beckett's latest album release.It was a really enjoyable session held at Adrian Sherwoods ON-U sound studio then in Wood Green..The session was led by Adrian himself and Louis Beckett with some wicked soundscapes,samples and Dub Bass lines that had me laughing for days..It's an album that I have been looking forward to hearing the finish product for so long that I began to wonder if it would ever see the light of day! I had wondered what had happened to the released of the album but I understood from Harry that they were dealing with some stuff regarding record companies,distribtuion and release info etc..however it's now finally surfaced on Adrian Sheerwood's brilliant label ON-U sound label and is getting some pretty serious notice from Djs,media etc as it should do!
Harry Beckett being one of the stalwarts of the Jazz scene in the U.k since arriving from Barbados in the fifties continues to play in cutting edge projects to this day not content with easy listening music or the finger clicking Hip cats we see out and about at various gigs!Anyway please check the album,go ask your local store to make sure they get it in and not just for christmas..
Here is a link to a review in the Independent,however ignore the "rather repetitous" line put in by the reviewer near the end of the review as it's silly!After all it's DUB!
Friday night I was invited to Whitstable in Kent right on the coast to play at a benefit gig for the great 70s Jazz Rock Bassist Hugh Hopper of Soft Machine Fame.Hugh had been diagnosed earlier this year with Leukeamia and has responded well to treatment. I drove up with Legendary Saxophonist Lol Coxhill who has played many times over the years in various Bands with Hugh including the "ClearFrame" band that we are both members of. It was a great night with a full house and some fantastic musicians supporting.Hugh and family were also able to put in an appearance to catch some of the evenings performance.
Well done to all the organisers for putting together a good interesting programme plus a real bonus in finding such a great venue..There will be another benefit this Sunday at the 100 club in London..
Sunday, December 07, 2008
We managed to finish the day ahead of schedule which put everyone in a very good mood for the rest of the week..
Wednesday saw me go first to the Roundhouse to teach a percussion class followed by another 10 hours recording with "BOM".We then finished all the remaining tracks ready for the start of mixing the album tracks the next day.
Thursday we changed over to the mix studio at Livingston studios and started the mixing process plus tidying up of some loops that we have been editing...I then went over to the Roundhouse in the afternoon to set up that nights show with the Jazz Alive students.. Again both myself and Soweto compered the show..There were other performers and poets from the Roundhouse courses plus the amazing Drummer Tony Marsh conducting a piece with the A.S.A.P ensemble who are based at the Roundhouse.A really positive night with some good feedback which is pointing to a regular monthly show in the Theatre there.
Friday morning saw me back at Livingston studios while the band and engineer Mike Buddy listened intently to tracks highlighting stuff that needed closer inspection etc..I then left in the Afternoon for the Jazz Cafe to do soundcheckwith Beggar & Co.That nights show had Some nice music plus some classic soul tracks that had the crowd funking merrily homewards after a 2 1/2 hour set..
Saturday morning saw me driving across town for the Jazz Alive recording session in Peckham.The idea is to record a couple of tracks that show a good representation of the kind
of work they had been doing during the 3 month course it really was an early start for all concerned that unfotunately was held up by some technical issues.This meant us really having to compromise on the quality of the audio sound committed to CD in order to keep within the time constraints of the studio booking..A good insightful lesson for the students into the things that can go wrong in the creative process? Followed by a quick drive to the Jazz Cafe for soundcheck and a run through with Drummer FrankTontoh who was depping for the regular drummer.The gig was one of the best we've done with a full house enjoying a band seriously funking for fun!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
"Burn out Mama" is a group put together by two musician from Finland.Virtuoso Trumpet player Mika Molyari and Award winning Vocalist Reija Lang.The idea is a collaboration between Finnish and English musicians, so along with myself there are musicans Ed Jones the Tenor Saxophonist of US3 fame and Geoff Gascoigne Bassist with Jamie Cullen.
Since the early part of this year we have been travelling back and forward to Helsinki writing, arranging and rehearsing original music which resulted in a live show in Helsinki to try out the materialin front of an audience.that fortunately was favourably received by the audience and the media leading to an invitation to record a radio broadcast by YLE the finnish national broadcaster.
The band at the same time took the decision to record an album of which half was recorded at the YLE studios a sort of Abbey Road studios equivalent.The idea being that the rest of the album would be recorded in London.This week the London leg and the second half of the album will be recorded and mixed.
So it's looking like a pretty full on and intense week.As I also have the "Jazz Alive" concert at the Roundhouse with some bands and Artist from various music courses that take place at the Roundhouse during the year invited to perform on the line up.."Jazz Alive" is a project that saxophonist Soweto Kinch and myself have been leading for 3 months with 25 students.They played a couple of live concerts a fortnight ago one at the Festival Hall Ballroom as part of a Herbie Hancock inspired day at the 2008 London Jazz festival,quickly followed by their appearance later that day at the Hoxton Hall "Futurizm"night in the 2008 Fringe festival "Edge 08"Where they gave a good account of themselves..A review is elsewhere on this blog.
Added to the mix of my Hectic week is two nights at the end of the week that I am performing with the "Beggar& Co"band at the "Jazz Cafe" backing "Junior Giscombe" and "Freeze" vocalist "Ingrid.but of course at the same time as I'm doing the "Jazz Alive" night at the Roundhouse I should also be at rehearsal for the "Beggar & Co"Show!Typical full on mayhem week!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This Venue really could be described as intimate as the audience are nearly sitting in the band.
The buzz of anticipation for this great lineup was shown by the queue outside and the amount of people hoping to be on the guest list however the list was seriously tight last night with not much joy even for journalist,Which in one notable case might just backfire for the venue in the future! Anyway I was lucky as I got my guest list request in early.
Pat Thomas,Steve Williamson,Roy Campbell and Roger Turner hit the stage early for the first set and did not disappoint as they tore into some fiery Hardcore Free Jazz that looked to have shocked a few people in the crowd who have obviously not been paying attention to changes and growth that have taken place within many musicians on the scene.
Pat and Steve first met and played together at my Solo Summit Festival in 2002 as a duet, meeting up again last year at the Oxford "Cohesion" Festival,where they left a discerning audience spellbound with some amazing music.
I first met Roy Campbell the incredible Trumpet player and Flautist from the U.S, when Pat
and myself were invited to perform at the brilliant "Outside in" festival in Newcastle a few years ago in fact that was were I first heard the powerhouse Drummer that is Roger Turner,Anyway we hit it off immediately with subsequent gigs and recordings happenning in various settings since then. Roy always brings some great playing and compositions to the table as well as a great personality.Tonight he did not disappoint with a non stop supply of lyrical and harmonic invention equally matched by Steve and Pat who just took the music and sounds further and further up to new heights at every twist and turn of the music, propelled by Roger Turner's percussion masterclass drumming!
Tonight the first set was on fire but the second set really took off with Pat taking a central role on Charlie Wrights new Steinway piano and cleverly using vintage prophet 5 sounds and Korg MS synth sounds to drop bombs and amazing soundscapes that further urged the rest of the musicians on to create some epic moments..Steve Williamson really moved the assembled room of respected musicians with his solid majestic Spiritual tones and awesome virtuoso technical ability on Tenor Saxophone.
It was interesting to observe one of the Japanese Baritone players from the10 piece Baritone band that have been going down a storm through the London Jazz festival,As he was watching Steve play you could see how much he was excited by his playing by how much he was smiling!When I spoke with him afterwards this only reinforced this view by him asking
"Why are they not in Big VENUE, it's amazing" Why not indeed?Hopefully this group can record and put something on a label soon.Watch out next year for Steve joining up with my "Routes through Roots" Ensemble I think it could be absolutely on fire!
The gig was recorded by BBC Radio 3 for broadcast after the festival so look out for it and enjoy..
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Of course we then had to pull the gig, Which meant phoning,emailing e.t.c around to warn as many people as possible not to go!
We had really put a lot of work in advertising and networking the night The BBC Jazz on 3,Giles Peterson had done a Podcast specifically for the Film,Radio London's Robert Elms interviewed Paul Bradshaw, An Italian Journalist and a Top Japanese Journalist were also flying in to review as well as some Quality Broadsheets were showing up to review the film and the night!plus we had such a great lineup of Musicians ready for a funk filled live session! (I can't even tell you what went down with the The Rich Mix Damagement and their really informed opinion about the style of music that would be played that night) but they added the were taking into account the musical taste of their Clientele who might not be into our music! As if I gave a toss what their clientele liked or didn't like as they were not our clientele and should not be in the part of the venue that we were going to use,They would not of payed to hear anything! need I say more! but If that also included the musical choices of the Thief that nicked my Laptop, maybe they should change their style of Clientele) but I do know there's a saying "What goes around comes around!"
Watch this space in 2009!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The Story Of A Village In South Central
A film by Jeanette Lindsay
Hosted by Gilles Peterson this moving documentary will be shown at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd. E16LA on Wednesday 19th Nov. @ 8pm. Fee: £10.00 inc. TheFresh Mix Live Session!
ABOUT LEIMERT PARK
In April 1992, Richard Fulton, a formerly homeless man who had been living on Los Angeles' skid row, opened Fifth Street Dick's coffeehouse in the South Central Los Angeles neighborhood of Leimert Park. A few days later, the 1992 Los Angeles riots broke out. For five days and five nights, a group of dedicated merchants and artists stood guard to protect their village from the fires that raged through the streets of South Central Los Angeles.
Richard's coffeehouse soon became a gathering spot for the community, and ultimately sparked a remarkable underground renaissance of African-American art and culture. Leimert Park became a stopover for world-class jazz musicians who might drop in to jam until 3 or 4 in the morning. The sidewalks overflowed with people of all ages and races absorbing the jazz, hip-hop, blues and spoken-word poetry performed in the park and various music venues.
Told through the powerful words, art and music of the community, this film articulates and celebrates the profound struggles and deep spirit of the extraordinary artists and musicians who transformed a few blocks of modest storefronts into a vibrant and inspiring cultural oasis. Intimate and compelling, Leimert Park is a universal tale of the struggles and triumphs of artists everywhere and of the power and importance of art and music in our lives.
All net proceeds from the distribution of this film are slated to go back to the community to support the arts and culture.
STRAIGHT NO CHASER'S ANDY THOMAS TALKS TO ANDY THOMAS TALKS TO THE FILM'S DIRECTOR JEANETTE LINDSAY.
How did you come to hear about the Leimert Park community and what made you determined to let the world know the story?
Jeanette: I initially found out about the Leimert Park community from a class on jazz history that I was taking at Antioch University in 1997. The teacher told us about Leimert Park and then invited the class to a performance of vocalist Dwight Trible and his band at the World Stage in Leimert. I remember being deeply struck by the community. There was a very creative vibe there and it resonated with me. I had always longed to be part of a community of artists and that was exactly what I saw going on down there.
What made me determined to let the world know about Leimert Park was partially my passion for art, but also being struck by the interaction of artists within a community. I could see how important it was. It was something I had always longed for, and here it was in LA, and I had never even heard about it. I couldn't believe that this was going on here, and I had known nothing about it. It was completely under the radar of the media. This was a real art and real music springing organically from a community. It wasn't about the money. It was about self-expression and community and beauty. What is the real value in art? I mean, what is the role of art in our society? I don't think that art is something that is put on a pedestal in some big white museum up on a hill (I'm referring here to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles). I think art is something that should be integrated into our lives and a part of our communities. I think art is the measure of a culture, how art and artists (and when I say art and artists I mean music, I mean visual art, I mean dance, all of that) are valued ... how it's viewed, respected and treated by society, by the people. I think it is integral to our understanding each other, respecting each other, and building peace and community.
So back to your question, what made you determined to let the world know this story…. To put it more succinctly, I was inspired by what I saw occurring in this community. The beauty and the love ...that creativity. It was something that I had never experienced, particularly not in Los Angeles. And I was bothered by the fact that I did not know that this was occurring right here! I live in L.A., I read the paper. But I did not know that this area of LA existed, and I did not know about the artistic community going on down here. That seemed outrageous to me. So I decided (with a great amount of naivete) that I would document it. I felt it was important to tell the story of this community to Los Angeles, and the United States and the world. To share, to celebrate, to be inspired by Leimert Park.
Was it important for you to show a different side to this blighted area and to break down the clichés around South Central?
I don't know that I would call this area “blighted” particularly, so I'd like to address that first. Perhaps the dictionary definition of blighted is correct, but the word blighted to me implies a hopelessness. And I don't see that in this area. Perhaps I would refer to it as a forgotten or ignored area of Los Angeles. There are areas of LA that are blighted, definitely, but this would not be one of them. Now in the 80s, things were very different in Leimert Park – or so I am told. There was a good deal of gang and drug activity in the park and people were afraid to go out at night. But after the uprising in 1992, things changed significantly.
There are still some “run-down" areas surrounding Leimert Park. But this area historically has been predominantly middle-class and working class. Leimert Park itself has been referred to as a “hidden jewel.” The homes - as well as the people -- are quite lovely there.
That's not to say that people there don't struggle. They do, they shouldn't have to, but they do. I think part of that is due to the misconceptions about South Central.
It was important that I show a different side to South Central to correct some of the misconceptions about the area in general - to introduce people to a different side of Los Angeles and erase some of the stereotypes about the area and the people.
The film opens with Kamau Daaood’s words about Leimert Park being a “sacred place and a gathering spot for an army of healers”. Did you feel that spirituality when you first went there?
Leimert Park has a vibe - a heartbeat. I think the warmth and the spirit of the people and the artists can be felt there. I think it was that very spirit that inspired me to make the film and made me believe that I could actually do it!
Richard Fulton talks about the importance of music to the harmony of the
community. On what level do you think jazz acted as the gel for the people to come together?
“Jazz is improvisational and it makes people improvise in their own minds…” Those are Richard’s words, but I agree with them wholeheartedly. Jazz and the improvisational aspect of the music represent an inclusiveness. The music says to me – “hey, let me hear what you have to say about that”. It gives musicians an opportunity to express in ways that other music doesn’t. It is that freedom and acceptance that I believe has an effect on the listeners. It flows through the music. And of course a great rhythm section doesn’t hurt either.
Playing music and letting the music spill out onto the streets – it kind of envelopes in a warmth that is palpable…
Cats like Kamau Daaood and Horace Tapscott had of course experienced the Watts Riots of the Sixties. How important was that in helping them bond with the younger generation?
I’m not sure how the experience of the Watts riots in the 60s had an effect on the elders bonding with a younger generation. I do think that the experience of living as an African American in the United States creates a common bond. It is something difficult for outsiders (me being an outsider!) to fully understand. We just haven’t grown up dealing with that and with all the subtle aspects of racism in this country…
Would you agree that seemingly small gestures like Richard Fulton setting
tables outside so people could play dominoes became powerful symbols of
To me, it is small gestures like setting tables outside on the sidewalk that are the most powerful symbols of resistance. I believe this for a few reasons. It shows the difference that one individual can make in a community and it is the accumulation of small gestures that over time creates powerful and lasting change. I think most people believe that in order to make a difference or “change” things, they have to do something “big.” This is what gets the attention and these “moments” seem to come out of nowhere. But it is the seeds that people like Richard plant that create the fertile soil for the larger changes.
How important was it that music was taken out onto the streets at the same
time as the fires were burning?
Music wasn’t taken out onto the streets at the same time that the fires were burning. People were too busy helping each other and ensuring that their businesses didn’t burn down! It was after the fires were out and things had calmed down that people began to gather at Richard’s coffeehouse. They needed a place to gather, to heal, to talk, to comfort and Richard’s coffeehouse provided a forum for this to happen.
I think having that space and enlivening it with art and music is crucial in times of crisis – it creates a space to heal.
Kamau Daaood talks about the lineage from The Watts Writers Workshop to the poetry sessions at The World Stage. To what extent was the explosion of spoken word a reaction to the riots?
This is pretty much an extension of what I was talking about before – having a space to heal. Music and art are such important tools for change and for healing. The World Stage provided a forum for expression and the structure of a safe supportive workshop to do it within. Vitally important. After the Watts Riots in 1964, a number of artists from the Watts Arts Center went around and gathered “junk” from the burned buildings and created a series of artworks that eventually circled the globe. The exhibit was called “66 signs of neon” and it launched the careers of a number of artists. I mention this because I think what is most notable is that artists are able to take an act of violence, to take the cast off remains, to take the pain of experience and transform it into something beautiful. Artists – true artists – are healers and an integral part of a community.
Michael Datcher recalls how gangsters left the area alone, some even becoming spoken word artists. What does that say about the power of the arts and of the oneness and acceptance of this community?
I think I have answered this above. In the end, we are all human. And the gang members are – yes – gang members but they are also a part of a larger community. The artists and what Richard was doing was helping the community. It was good for their people. They could see this and they respected it. I think art speaks to a deeper part of ourselves…
What role does Leimert Park play now?
Ahhh. Difficult question. Leimert Park is at a crossroads. Not only was it hit with the untimely deaths of some of its key figures, but like the rest of Los Angeles (and the U.S.), Leimert Park was caught up in the real estate frenzy. Several of the properties were bought by investors outside the community – who have no interest in the community itself, only in making money. It is unclear which way Leimert Park will turn, now that the economy has changed so drastically. I also must say that the film deals with the viewpoint of the artists. There are some in the community (I am speaking here of the merchants) that want to see Leimert Park became more “upscale” and less grassroots. There are others who fear that change as they believe it will run them out of business. Many of the artists have already been forced to leave due to rising rents and this has changed the community greatly. So it is really at a crossroads.
What do you want people to go away with after watching this film?
I have found that each person walks away with something different (which is quite satisfying). I guess if I wanted viewers to get "something," I would like them to go away with a broadened vision of “South Central Los Angeles”, and even more so, I would hope that the film and the artists in the film inspire people to follow their own passions and create.
CHECK OUT: the perfect companion to Leimert Park – the film – is Stephen L Isoardi’s excellent book The Dark Tree: Jazz & the Community Arts in Los Angeles (George Gund Foundation Book in African American Studies
Paul Bradshaw www.straightnochaser.co.uk
Cecil Taylor ranks alongside John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman as one the most influential forces of the US jazz avant garde that revolutionised and globalised the music in the Sixties. In this film, we are immediately confronted, on the one hand, with the respectful, reverential vibe of Yamashita, who is poised to live out his dream and, on the other hand, an impish, feisty and intellectually rigorous Taylor, who wastes little time in demolishing the interview process while dismissing "jazz" as derogatory and restrictive.
Effortlessly stylish, in a Yohji Yamamoto kind of way, 78 years old Cecil Taylor sports an array of headwear (I'm not sure about the jail-style nylon stocking skull cap) and chunky colourful leggings. He moves like a dancer attuned to his own internal rhythm and as we are immersed in the rehearsals it's clear that there is a deep and respectful bond between him and his "colleague", Yamashita.
Hearing Cecil Taylor's music completely changed Yamshita's attitude to playing. As far as he is concerned Taylor's approach to music is totally unique and equally liberating. As they play together there is a sense that they are sparring and here we're talking the grace, speed and explosive power of Sugar Ray Leonard.
The footage of the actual concert, which took place in Tokyo in 2007, is astonishing. As viewers we are given access to the musicians in a way that one could never have in a concert hall setting. We are drawn the facial contact across pianos, given glimpses of a notation system that is totally unique and get an opportunity to watch the hands dance over the ivories or pound them relentlessly. To see their finger at work, filiing the whole cinema screen, is amazing.
As a teenager, I was introduced to the music of Cecil Taylor by my father, he was a fan, but to me it just seemed like noise. However, upon seeing and hearing him play live in Ronnie Scott's some years later (I was sat at the the front, adjacent to the piano) it all fell into place and made sense.
This film is like that. You can connect with the physical process and with both musicians' free flowing mental agility. You are drawn into the pulsating energy of the performance and the sounds and left surpisingly open and receptive, to their individual interpetations of each others' music.
The elegant, relaxed pace of the film adopted by it's director,Yasuhiko Shirai, allows the music to breathe. It also allows the audience the opportunity and the space to take in the spectacle and reflect while negotiating the shifting tides of sound that oscillates between a shimmering calm and a firece storm. '$ Hand@ is a film both it's director and it paricipants can be proud of.
Paul Bradshaw (straight no chaser)
However, due to a number of unforeseen circumstances, the London showing of this powerful photographic exhibition at the Boundary Studio in Calvert Avenue E1 has had to be postponed.
Despite a typically wet and windy November evening the opening attracted an excellent and very enthusiastic gathering drawn from the diverse worlds of design, music and fashion.
In the house were locals like designers Ally Cappelino and Virginia Hodge, photographerr/artist/capoeirista Hassan Hajjaj, Angelo and co. from the Maverick Gallery, Kate & Clare from Rich Mix, and Eloise from Ideas Generation. Ellingfort Road was represented by Jo & Bruce from London Fieldworks (+ Jetson) and photographers Cat & Kristian (+ Robyn).
Musicians include Orphy Robinson. Jessica Lauren and Kevin Rowland while the Chaser crew - Swifty, Kathyrn Willgress, Neil Spencer, Dave Hucker, Mitch, B, Matt 'Monkey' Boxer Bailey, Andy Thomas, Janine, Suki Dhanda, Roberta Cutolo, Miriam Hempel - were in out inforce. On the film making front we had Jeremy Wooding and Yasuhiko Shirai who had arrived that day fron Japan to attend the screening of his '4 Hands' documentary.
The vibe was great, The TIGER beers flowed along with the excellent PAMPERO rum. Peter's portraits were universally well received and his shows is now guaranteed an airing in Amsterdam and Milan (Berlin is also on the cards!)
We know that a lot of people were very keen to view the show during this coming week and we apologise deeply for any inconvenience caused.
We will keep everybody posted re. future showings as we are determined that the photographic work of Pete Williams gets the exposure it deserves.
A luta continua.
Paul Bradshaw: Chaser + Edge08
Although it was a year ago here is a review of the last ever Millfield Theatre Sunday Supplement..
This was a review done by those fantastic people at Jazzrefreshed who continue to do some great work bringing music to the community..Thanks for sending along a reviewer, when we also tried to have some others come along to review the shows, the silence was deafening yet when we played at the South Bank centre a week later quite a few were there in the crowd who had come along to see something else but stood there with there mouths open like they were in shock!with one coming up and he actually said "I didn't realise it was going to be so good,you know covering Slavery and that" Yet we were not able to have another review.
Anyway Before the two commissioned shows at Millfield and at the South Bank there was a launch event held at the Houses of Parliament where I was invited to play solo Marimba I played three segments of the "Routes Through Roots" commission the first Imancipation "Hey man stay patient" the second Caribbean = "Carry we Beyond" the third "Democracy" "They mock us you see".
The ensemble consist of Corey Mwamba,HKB Finn,Pat Thomas,Richard Anthony Davis and myself. Here kindly reprinted with permission from Darren Taylor of Jazz Refreshed below is the review.
Gig Review – Orphy Robinson18th November – Millfield Theatre
As I’m sure most of you are aware there have been celebrations to mark this bi-centenary for the abolition of the Slave Trade Act throughout the world; perhaps more so in the jazz world. In celebration for this event Orphy Robinson was asked to bring together some of the great musicians and poets together and produce some new pieces for this event ‘Routes Through Roots’
The stage was set; the lighting dimmed and smoke was just shimmering on the platform. Instruments littered the stage before us and I was expecting Orphy to stride out with a large collection of fellow musicians to speak their words on their feelings and thoughts. What emerged from behind the curtains wasn’t the entourage I expected; rather five musicians came forth and brought their music to the auditorium.
This has to have been one of the best live gigs I have been to in a while. You got a definite impression that besides making music the band actually had something to say, which is so refreshing to hear. It is all too easy to get lost in getting technically brilliant in your improvisations or getting the band really tight together – but what’s really important is the message you want to put across and Orphy and the band couldn’t have put this across any better. From the moment the band started playing until the moment they stopped there was music – no piece ended, no clapping allowed – just the music. It added a sense of story to the pieces – that the story of those forced into slavery didn’t stop and cut and paste into neat little sections – but rather that it was a constant, on-going life.
Despite being only five players the band wasn’t limited on the sounds that they could produce during this non-stop 40-minute set. Robinson and Corey Mwamba constantly shifted instruments – from the more standard drums and bass, to dulcimer’s and ethnic instruments that I’d not come across before. All the time Pat Thomas kept the sounds looping and introduced sounds of his own by replaying out sounds, samples as looping outs sounds that were taken as the musicians played. Even the lighting matched the mood of the pieces they were playing and shifted when the sounds on stage shifted too. The result was outstanding.
The opening number began with Orphy Robinson on trumpet – starting us off with a lilting trumpet solo, which reminded me of the opening riff on Byron Wallen’s latest album. This sound was looped and played back throughout the number so Orphy could move on and layer on further instruments. It also allowed other players to intertwine with his opening statement and develop the idea further with the original material still there. Such a rich complex texture was created out of something so simple that it was mesmerising. Sometimes you had to check to see who was playing what instrument to decipher what was live and what was looped. The rich tapestry was taken further by blending in the vocal talents of HKB Finn and Richard Anthony Davis.
Richard Anthony Davis’s vocals range, and timbre, were impressive and his melody lines shifted and blended around the sounds around him. I think this ability to blend with the fellow musicians, as well as lead, contrasted well with the spoken words taken from HKB Finn. Everything Finn did and said drew you attention to him, even just the way the man sat brought your attention to him and made you think ‘there’s someone who has something to say’. The words he spoke were deep in meaning and beautifully portrayed. Such were the emotions behind the words and such thought gone into each word spoken that the effect was superb.
The impact of the vocals, both sung and spoken, were heightened by the music behind and around them. Each of the players were masters of their instruments. Pat Thomas was great to watch – seeing him play jazz piano as well as improvising using all elements of the piano – this included hitting the strings with a small hammer and making scratching noises along the strings too, to add to the despair and angst of the music. Each used perhaps less standard practises of playing their instruments to add further depth, sound and colour to the performance. As each player added different styles they interacted really well – all interpreting and adding to the sounds around them.
During this 40-minute set we were given a sample of Orphy’s new pieces that it would be fair to class as a single performance than as separate tracks. But within that one performance there is a wide range of styles, colours and textures. The effect is having the chance to listen to great musicians perform some deeply moving pieces of music that allow you to reflect on both life and the past all in one.For further info go to: www.myspace.com/orphyrobinson or www.orphyrobinson.com
However I hope that I have finally found a suitable venue can't say where until the T s have been crossed and the I s have been dotted etc,but I will post up here first when it's all hopefully ready to go!
Saturday night in Hoxton Street and the debris of the day's market lined the gutter. Inside Hoxton Hall, the space which provides the cultural heartbeat to the real Hoxton, the atmosphere crackled with excitement as dozens of young musicians registered in the lobby while others soundchecked in the classic old skool theatre.
The sounds of nu soul wafted into the band room which was alive with dozens of young players flexing on their instruments. A tousle haired boy in his early teens lets off a run on the alto sax that is so fluid and smooth it gives this listener a genuine shock. In the cafe a boy/girl duo worked on a version of Miriam Makeba's 'Click Song' - it's their tribute to South African singer/musician/activist who had passed away earlier that week.
Futurizm was programmed by Orphy Robinson and Soweto Kinch, both of whom teach in various projects in the capital. It was a unique session which united, for the first time, the cream of young artists from Jazz Alive, The Roundhouse and Hoxton Hall itself.
As a performance it was a game in two halves but throughout the audience were consistently confronted with a freewheeling and eclectic mix of sounds and music. The first half of the night was given added grit and grime through the poetic interventions of Hoxton Hall's own Loaded Lyrics crew who had written and learned how to memorise and perform their own words in three days! Yes, they brought to Futurizm's musical agenda their own unique innner city, working class, multi racial vision and they did it with panache.
The first set culminated with the Roundhouse All Stars - A.S.A.P - delivering a rocknfunknjaz clash that echoed the spirit of those musicians in the Sixties and Seventies like Miles, Hendrix, Sly Stone or George Clinton who suddenly discovered they could transcend musical boundaries and mesh the horns with the electronic power of rock guitar. Respek goes to that low slung strat weilding kid who wasn't afraid to cut loose with a blistering little solo and an attitude to match.
The second set had the the Jazz Alive crew hit the stage, fresh from wowing the RFH/South Bank with their tribute to Herbie Hancock. Along with their unique version of 'Chameleon' they bounced into an uplifting anthem that celebrated their own existence - Jazz Alive was the WORD! They were followed by the Descendants Of A Quest, a tight four piece, who were fronted by a trio of vocalists. Of the three (2 boys and 1 girl) it was a dynamic Chantelle Nandi who took the lead and delivered a range of tunes that spanned nu-soul (light and dark), jazz'n'scat and lovers rock. As the night edged towards an end Chantelle handed the baton over to Theo Llewellyn who brought the house down and the lights up with a vibesin' rendition of Stevie Wonder's 'Another Star'.
PB @ Straight No Chaser
Respek goes to HOXTON HALL for hosting this event, to all the projects involved and, most of all, to the performers/musicians who gave us a solid dose of Futurizm.
of putting together a Fringe to the main Festival.
Well certainly easier said than done as it was the end of August which was already far too late to organise getting any Arts funding or Promoting something that would be more than just one event and happening at the start of November! However the feedback that we received from everyone we put the idea to was overwhelmingly positive.This included a mouthwatering and quite humbling line up of Musicians,Artist,filmmakers,Photographers,Venues and Media volunteering their services to the Fringe angle of the main festival!
We somehow managed to pull together a programme that included the European Premiere of two fantastic documentaries "4 Hands" featuring Cecil Taylor the amazing Pianist and his equally brilliant Japanese counterpart Yosuke Yamashita in a first ever meeting of these two masters of the Piano.The Director Yasuhiko Shirai even offered to fly himself and his lovely wife over to London for the screening and it wasn't just words they actually did! A real honour for us as the world premier was screened at the Lincoln centre New York which is very different from Bethnal Green in the East end of London!
Anyway I will post beneath this a schedule of the events we have left and hope to see some of you at the events!
Since the last time I blogged I have been fortunate to have done heaps more Teaching, Traveling and performing plus getting involved in some very different promotional work..
I Set up 2 companies with another ex member of my 80s Brit funk band Savanna the Bass
player (Sammy J) dealing with my favourite hobby about which I will tell you more later!
I will also add blogs about events that have happened while I was away from the blog as and when I remember them!
This is because I had been logging done stuff on my Apple Powerbook but I hadn't been backing up regularly on to a separate hard disc to my cost the Powerbook was stolen along with my Video camera and portable hard disc recorder,some vibes mallets and other bits along with my travel bag.Would you believe from the side of stage at a gig as I dismantled the equipment..
The bloke who nicked my bag was very fast and according to the Security people apparently professional as he knew exactly how to avoid the CCTV cameras,however all the frustration and anger that I feel I just have to let it go and move on!Aaaahh!
Right I will wind up now and be back blogging soon!