derrickhodge_thesecond_cover

Going solo is never a clear-cut thing for a ‘jazz’ bassist. And if you play electric bass, the issue becomes even murkier. Do you go the chops-infused ‘fusion blowout’ route, or put composition first and place yourself in a variety of group environments a la Victor Bailey, John Patitucci, Jaco et al? By and large, […]

zoe cover

The pianist has a whole orchestra at his or her fingertips – that’s the theory, anyway. And therefore the jazz pianist has the potential to make the unique sound of an orchestra in ‘spontaneous improvisation’ mode. Duke Ellington was famous for approaching the keyboard in this way, and now Zoe Rahman’s sixth solo album Dreamland […]

cyrus chestnut

The piano trio form is expanding in all sorts of directions these days, from the metric perambulations of Vijay Iyer to the deep Zen grooves of The Necks. At last night’s opening gig of the International Piano Trio Festival, a neat bit of programming juxtaposed two bands at the opposite ends of the stylistic spectrum […]

allan h

There’s an alternative, fantasy version of the BRITS Lifetime Achievement award where artists like Allan Holdsworth get the recognition they deserve from their native music industry. There’d also be gongs for Courtney Pine, Gary Crosby, John McLaughlin, Django Bates, Julian Joseph, Gary Husband, Bill Bruford and a few others. Of course that’ll never happen, so let’s […]

rebello

For a great British musician, pianist Jason Rebello has had one of the more intriguing careers than most. A key figure in the late-’80s jazz revival with his blinding licks and clean-cut looks much to the fore, he released a superb Wayne Shorter-produced debut A Clearer View (much more on that soon) in 1990, then followed […]

david murray

Either a new Geri Allen or David Murray album would be a cause for celebration, but now the pianist and saxophonist have got together and released Perfection with the very welcome addition of Terri Lyne Carrington on drums. And if that wasn’t enough, the title track is a previously-unrecorded composition by the late great Ornette Coleman. […]

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I’ve just had the absolute pleasure of writing the liner notes for a brand new Steve Khan 2-CD reissue featuring his three classic albums of the early ’80s, Eyewitness, Modern Times and Casa Loco, just released on BGO Records. It was an honour to work with Steve on this project. He couldn’t have been more generous […]

jaco

First of all, I’ve got to declare an interest: Jaco’s in my all-time top five favourite musicians. Ever since I started really noticing music in the late ’70s, he was always on my radar – my dad would play Weather Report’s Heavy Weather and Mr Gone around the house, and by the time I knew Jaco’s […]

jan hammer

Jan Hammer has had one of the strangest careers in music. A gifted jazz piano prodigy, he started out backing up Sarah Vaughan before tearing off the top of his Fender Rhodes and playing some brilliantly deranged stuff with John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. He then featured on some great jazz and fusion albums of […]

abercrombie

For some reason (could it be the name?) American guitarist John Abercrombie has never really received the same kind of attention as his contemporaries John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell and Mike Stern. His career has been modest and craftsmanlike in comparison, starting out, in his words, as a ‘John McLaughlin rip-off’, playing on ‘some […]