Author Archives: Matt P (movingtheriver.com, soundsofsurprise.com)

Book Review: Sophisticated Giant (The Life And Legacy Of Dexter Gordon) by Maxine Gordon

Jazz books written by ‘jazz widows’ are pretty rare. Only Laurie Pepper’s ‘Art: Why I Stuck With A Junkie Jazzman’ comes to mind. But, as Val Wilmer’s ‘As Serious As Your Life’ demonstrated some 50 years ago, behind a great jazzman is often a great jazzwoman, and usually one equally worthy of a tome. And […]

Level 42: Every Album, Every Song

‘Level 42 – Every Album, Every Song (on track)’ is the first in-depth study of the jazz/funk/pop supergroup’s illustrious catalogue.

It features recording information, musical analysis, studio gossip, full credits, stories from the road and contributions from head honcho Mark King and key past members Gary Husband and Phil Gould.

Tommy Flanagan: In His Own Sweet Time

Pop/jazz keyboardist/producer/impresario David Foster recently remarked in a podcast that the best jazz players seem to have the ‘big picture’ in mind when they start a solo, with a natural sense of storytelling/structure. It rang a bell when listening to a recently rediscovered 1994 solo concert from piano master Tommy Flanagan, now released by Enja […]

Ben Sidran: Talking Jazz (An Oral History)

They say that if you want to understand why an instrumentalist plays the way he or she plays, listen to them speak. That makes total sense when hearing Wayne Shorter or Ornette Coleman being interviewed. And now, courtesy of Ben Sidran, there’s never been a better chance to hear other examples of this. Sidran is […]

Bruford: One Of A Kind Revisited

In the late 1980s, some ‘long-lost’ cult tracks took on almost mythical status amongst my musician friends and I. There was Frank Zappa’s ‘The Black Page’, Rush’s ‘YYZ’ and ‘La Villa Strangiato’, UK’s ‘In The Dead Of Night’ and Bill Bruford’s ‘Five G’ and ‘Travels With Myself And Someone Else’. Guitarist Allan Holdsworth, who died […]

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers/IDJ Dancers: 35 Years On

1986 was a watershed year for the so-called ‘1980s Jazz Revival’. Indeed it was one of the few positives in a fairly duff year for music. Style magazines like The Face were on board and DJs such as Baz Fe Jazz, Patrick Forge, Gilles Peterson and Paul Murphy were spinning Blue Note sides for a […]

Milford Graves 1941-2021

One of the most memorable music documentaries broadcast in Britain during the late 1980s was ‘Speaking In Tongues’, directed by Doug Harris for German TV and originally shown in 1982. It began with John Coltrane’s funeral on 21 July 1967, featuring music from drummer Milford Graves, trumpeter Donald Ayler and saxophonists Ornette Coleman and Albert […]

Album Review: Data Lords by Maria Schneider Orchestra

The ‘political’ jazz concept album has a rich history, taking in Max Roach’s We Insist! and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra through to Sonny Rollins’ more recent Global Warming and Darcy James Argue’s Real Enemies, amongst many more. But multi-award-winning composer/arranger Maria Schneider’s latest collection and critical smash Data Lords could hardly be more timely, […]

Album Review: Truth, Liberty & Soul by Jaco Pastorius

Even as the streaming revolution sweeps all before it, there are a few aspects of physical music that seem to be thriving: vinyl and the ‘historical discovery’. Bass superstar Jaco is now a worthy recipient of both, courtesy of Truth, Liberty & Soul, a complete gig recorded at the Avery Fisher Hall in New York […]

Album Review: Conspiracy by Terje Rypdal

Five seconds of silence and then a slowly-building synth, like the spiralling of winter ghosts, accompanied by a cello-like lead guitar and flat ride cymbal: it could only be the new album by Norwegian six-string pioneer Terje Rypdal. He has forged a unique chamber-jazz/rock sound, strong on atmosphere and melancholy, an instantly recognisable blend of […]

Neil Cowley Trio: ‘Live At Montreux 2012’ Interview/Review

The NCT would seem a natural fit for the live DVD format with their witty stage repartee and unusual blend of rock, minimalism and jazz piano. And this Montreux Jazz Festival gig (which followed Tony Bennett in the Miles Davis Hall) doesn’t disappoint. The band take to a stage lit with eerie cobalt blue, the […]

Book Review: The Ballad Of Tommy LiPuma by Ben Sidran

What exactly does a record producer do? Of course the role covers a multitude of aspects but generally falls into two categories – the techie or the psychoanalyst. Tommy LiPuma was definitely in the latter camp, a five-time Grammy winner, label boss (courtesy of his cult imprint Blue Thumb) and bona fide music fan who […]

Book Review: ‘Ornette Coleman: The Territory And The Adventure’ by Maria Golia

For such a key figure in the jazz pantheon, Ornette Coleman has arguably been under-represented in print. Certainly this writer’s touchstones have been short-form pieces – Gary Giddins’ extended essay from ‘Visions Of Jazz’; Francis Davis’s ‘No Success Like Failure’; Richard Williams’ ‘The Skies Of America’; Art Taylor’s groundbreaking interview in ‘Notes And Tones’. So […]

Interview: Bryan Ferry talks about ‘The Jazz Age’

When you think Bryan Ferry, you probably think white tuxedo, Jerry Hall, that beautifully fragile croon and pop/art gems such as ‘Love Is The Drug’ and ‘Let’s Stick Together’ – you probably don’t think jazz. But look deeper into his career and there are many hints of a latent jazzophilia, from Andy Mackay’s snaky soprano […]

Album Review: Is That So? by John McLaughlin/Shankar Mahadevan/Zakir Hussain

It’s taken this writer two months and countless listening sessions to put pen to paper on the subject of Is That So?. But, as the cliché goes, it’s a lot easier to write about something you hate than something you love. Six years in the making, this spellbinding album may just be the most cohesive musical […]

The Love Supreme Festival 2013

An all-jazz residential UK festival – who’d have predicted it? Spread over an idyllic estate in Glynde, rural East Sussex, Love Supreme’s USP was a wholesale celebration of the music’s huge range, from straightahead to avant-garde, and it certainly delivered on that score. Jazz’s liberation from the club and concert hall also seemed to liberate […]

The Steinway Two-Piano Festival @ Pizza Express, March 2013

To paraphrase Keith Jarrett, the piano perhaps isn’t the most natural instrument for playing jazz, so conquering the beast with 88 teeth remains a huge challenge and this annual festival of duets always throws up an intriguing potpourri of styles. Bath residents Jason Rebello (pictured) and Dave Newton kicked things off with an engaging if […]

Steve Khan on producing Biréli Lagrène’s Inferno and Foreign Affairs

Blue Note’s mid-’80s resurgence was driven by shrewd management of its established stars and also a willingness to expand into various fusions. Some projects of the era have dated well, others not so well, but Biréli Lagrène’s debut Inferno (1987) and follow-up Foreign Affairs (1988) were successes. It’s fair to say that many excellent jazz […]

Wayne Shorter/Martial Solal + Tomorrow’s Warriors @ St Luke’s Church, 27th January 2004

It’s always interesting to hear jazz away from a club or concert hall, and both the unique location and musical content made this a very interesting evening indeed. The always-interesting Tomorrow’s Warriors started off the second night of Wayne Shorter’s Barbican residency with a mixture of the saxophonist’s early compositions for Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers […]

Album Review: Scott Henderson’s People Mover

Look up ‘uncompromising’ in the dictionary, and there’s a good chance you’ll see a photo of guitar great Scott Henderson. If he’d wanted to, he could have enjoyed a long, fruitful career as sideman to the stars – Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea and Jean-Luc Ponty were a pretty decent start – but in the early […]

John McLaughlin & The 4th Dimension @ Barbican, 23rd April 2019

If this was John’s final London gig, what a way to go out. Though the audience’s response was at times reverential and/or strangely undemonstrative, the outpouring of emotion at the conclusion was heartfelt and seemed to come as quite a shock to the performers too. It’s hard to think of another ‘jazz’ band which has […]

Hubert Laws/Smithsonian Masterworks Orchestra @ Milton Court, 6th April 2019

Mention the name of flautist Hubert Laws to jazz fans of a certain bent and it’ll elicit an expression of appreciation and affection – his name is synonymous with the kinds of cool jazz/Latin/funk exemplified by the CTI label, where he made a few fondly remembered albums, as well as making key contributions to Gil […]

Will Downing’s Jazz Odyssey

Will Downing’s string of three fantastic albums from 1990 to 1995 (A Dream Fulfilled, Love’s The Place To Be and Moods) are almost completely forgotten now – a real oversight. Downing came out of the New York mid-’80s session scene, singing on countless jingles and short-lived studio projects, but hit on a formula of sorts […]

Book Review: Pat Metheny (The ECM Years 1975-1984) by Mervyn Cooke

You know the guy: long, bushy hair, beatific grin, jeans, sneakers, long-sleeved T-shirt, usually rhapsodizing intensely via some kind of guitar gizmo. Despite his many stylistic detours, Pat Metheny is a brand all right, and his music inspires a devotion and attendant sales profile that has rarely – if ever – been afforded to ‘jazz’ […]

Album Review: John McLaughlin & Jimmy Herring Live In San Francisco

If this is indeed McLaughlin’s final album, as some recent interviews have intimated, it’s a pretty remarkable one to go out on. There are various reasons for this; it’s the first bona fide full-scale return to Mahavishnu Orchestra material since the final incarnation of that band waved goodbye in 1975; it was recorded live on […]