[JPL] Jazz news summarized

Jazz Promo Services jazzpromo at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 17 12:42:25 EST 2006

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Jazz News, Number 9/2006

11. - 17. November 2006


Jazz News, 17. November 2006

Bill Frisell

For the Washington Post
0202.html> , Richard Harrington talked to guitarist Bill Frisell about his
concert with the "Unspeakable Orchestra" which plays music that is quite
different from the album by the same title. He always has trouble to call
things which is why he used the title. The music itself has developed
through the years. For Frisell, jazz is "a mind-set, a process, a way of
approaching music rather than a style". When he finished at Berklee, he was
a hardcore bebop fan. In the early 80s he played on several ECM records,
worked with musicians around New York's Knitting Factory, then made a name
for himself in the early 90s with his own projects which more and more made
use of country elements. On his new album with Ron Carter and Paul Motian
all of these influences can be found, from Monk to Hank Williams. His first
influence was Jimmie Dodd, host of "The Mickey Mouse Club" who played "'his
Mousegetar with a drawing of Mickey Mouse on it'. Frisell soon constructed
his own - a cardboard cutout with rubber bands for strings."

Maria Schneider

For the New York Times
, Ben Ratliff meets with composer Maria Schneider who works on a new
composition to be performed as part of the 250th birthday celebrations of
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Vienna. When she composes, she likes to play some
phrases, record them and move around the room while listening to the
playback, in order to see how it feels when danced. "It helps me figure out
where things are, and what needs to be longer", she says. She doesn't play
the piano on stage, though, where she stands in front of the band and
conducts. Her 17 piece ensemble exists since 13 years and is financed
through grants and touring and an innovative system of distributing her
records on the label ArtistShare. Schneider grew up in a small town in
Minnesota. "When your entertainment isn't provided for you, your life is
full of fantasy", she says. Her father designed machinery for processing
flax, flew his own plane to his customers and often she accompanied him on
these flights. After attending Eastman School of Music she became Gil Evans'
assistant. Ratliff and Schneider listen to Evans' "Concierto de Aranjuez",
recorded with Miles Davis. Evans is like a couturier, she says, who knows
how to dress women to make them look incredible. Evans know how to dress the
soloists perfectly so that they sound beautiful. His arrangements are "like
a watch, where every little gear attaches to something else. The music and
the soloist are an inseparable entity." A trip to Brazil changed her life.
She was impressed by how natural music is conceived there, by the fact that
life and music seem to be one. After that she used elements of samba and of
flamenco in her own music. Yes, she thinks of herself as a jazz composer,
even if the stereotype does not always fit. Ratliff and Schneider listen to
"A Mamdade Nao Tem Fim" by Velha Guarda da Portela and to Jimmy Webb's "Up -
Up and Away" as sung by the Fifth Dimension in which she points out Gil
Evans influence. "That tune modulates six times, if not more. Ah. I get
chills. Who could dare to write that? It modulates as much as 'Giant Steps'


For Spiegel-Online 
0202.html> , Hans Hielscher discusses the most recent emancipation of
European Jazz from its American role model. It all began after the turn of
the millennium. Stuart Nicholson's report for the New York Times and his
subsequent book caused outcries with his allegation that European jazz is
more advanced in Europe than in the USA. Then e.s.t. made the cover of Down
Beat, and the magazine titled "Europe Invades!" which for American ears
sounds like "The Russians are coming". Svensson, Nils Petter Molvaer, Eric
Truffat or Till Brönner reach the jazz fans as well as a new generation
because they leave the stereotypes aside and make use of pop elements in
their music. But the critics already have invented new stereotypes, "Nordic
Jazz" for instance or "Euro Jazz". Michael Naura thinks that much of it is
more like arts and crafts and talks about "sound goulash". For Branford
Marsalis, jazz is Black music even when not played by Black musicians. Jazz
musicians should always know about the African American tradition; actually
it would be best if they lived in the USA if they really want to play jazz.
Everybody can play classical music, no matter what their nationality. But
one has to respect the tradition and cannot just play the music however one
likes to play it. Europe still is an important economic factor for American
musicians, as they make between 50 and 80 percent of their yearly income by
touring through Europe. Until recently festival organizers thought the
audience would not come if they did not have at least some Americans on the
program. That has changed. E.s.t., too, can fill the halls today.


Jazz News, 16. November 2006

Jazz goes Pop goes Jazz (current activities of the Jazzinsitut)

Just published: the 9th volume of the "Darmstädter Beiträge zur
Jazzforschung", a book titled "Jazz goes Pop goes Jazz. Der Jazz und sein
gespaltenes Verhältnis zur Popularmusik" (Jazz and its ambivalent
relationship(s) with popular music), edited by Wolfram Knauer and published
at Wolke Verlag, Hofheim 2006 (ISBN 3-936000-03-4, 22 Euro). The book
collects the essays of the 9th Darmstadt Jazzforum held in the fall of 2005
which discussed the question of popularity and/or art in jazz history and
the current jazz scene. The specialty of the Darmstadt Jazzforum is, as the
city's mayor Walter Hoffmann pointed out, that "next to the musicologists,
sociologists and journalists you also hear from the musicians themselves as
well as from concert promoters and label managers". The book, says Wolfram
Knauer, the Jazzinstitut's director, is the first on the market to analyze
the ambivalent relationship between jazz and pop. The essays give an answer
to the question what makes music popular in the first place, when and why
the worlds of jazz and pop music parted and how their relationship to each
other developed. The Australian historian Andrew Hurley looks at the critic
and producer Joachim Ernst Berendt and how he dealt with the worlds of jazz
and pop. Frithjof Strauß, an expert in Scandinavian studies, tries to
explain what makes Skandinavian jazz so popular in Germany. Other essays
come from the pop aesthetic Diedrich Diedrichsen, the musicologist Martin
Pfleiderer, the journalist Peter Kemper or from the Jazzinstitut's own Doris
Schröder and Wolfram Knauer. But musicians are included as well, Paul D.
Miller for example who at the last Jazzforum told the audience about the
aesthetic background of his productions and performances as DJ Spooky, or
Colin Towns, the British composer who talks about his current work. The
"Darmstädter Beiträge zur Jazzforschung" have become a book series on jazz
research of international reputation, basic reading for jazz fans and
musicologists at the same time. The Jazzinstitut Darmstadt, the world's
third largest information and documentation center on jazz, is active in
other parts of the jazz life, as well. Arndt Weidler just visited with
representatives of the cultural commission and with the head of the cultural
department at the Office of the Federal Chancellor, to talk about the
situation of German jazz today and discuss future initiatives to boost jazz
activities on a national level in Germany. The exhibition "Deutscher Jazz /
German Jazz", curated by Doris Schröder of the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt, will
tour for the Goethe- Institut for the next five years and has already been
asked for by more than 30 countries around the world. At the same time, the
staff of the Jazzinstitut and its volunteers manage a unique archive on
German jazz history. Just a couple of days ago the trumpet of Carlo
Bohländer could be secured for the Jazzinstitut's collection. Bohländer was
one of the first jazz theorists in Germany; his theory books influenced
Albert Mangelsdorff. The Jazzinstitut is preparing the 10th Darmstadt
Jazzforum which will take place from October 4th to 7th, 2007 and will
center around ethnic influences on jazz. In Europe alone there are many
examples for a crossing of boundaries and a mixing of influences: Jan
Garbarek in the north, Enrico Rava in Italy, or the pianist Chano Dominguez
who brought together the flamenco music of his Andalusian home and jazz.
Jazz musicians made use of the Brazilian Bossa Nova or worked with Indian
ragas, were inspired by African musicians or by Siberian throat singing. In
lectures (at the Literaturhaus Darmstadt), in concerts (at the
Centralstation and the Bessunger Knabenschule) and in workshops the 10th
Darmstadt Jazzforum will deal with the many aspects of this subject.

Cassandra Wilson

The singer Cassandra Wilson comes to Hamburg, and Christoph Forsthoff takes
the opportunity to interview her for the Hamburger Morgenpost
gel_des_zeitgeistes.html> . She doesn't care about the discussion about
"European jazz, American jazz" or about "true" or "pop" jazz, we read, and
she hasn't even heard the name of Esbjörn Svensson. And anyhow, jazz is "the
basis on which I move", that's all! She would like to broaden the songbook
of jazz "in order to keep jazz alive". In these days of the Bush government,
jazz might be able to provide the world with another picture of America, she
thinks. Forsthoff speculates that jazz singers are a bit like red wine:
"They become better and better with age." The 50 year old singer laughs
"from deep darkness" (!!!???) and believes that the best years still lie
ahead of her even if she has no specific plans at the moment.

Bobby Hutcherson

For the New York Times
<http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/16/arts/music/16hutc.html> , Ben Ratliff
attended the concert by vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson at New York's Dizzy's
Club Coca-Cola. Hutcherson concentrates more on a standard repertoire and on
turning the pieces inside out, Ratliff writes. "Slowly, thinking through
each phrase, he let notes ring for a long time, moving his hand to dampen
various keys, narrowing the sound of the chord and changing harmonies. He
didn¹t use musical quotations and didn¹t play anything that sounded like a
lick; it was clear that he was listening to his music as sound, and as
potential for beauty."


Jazz News, 15. November 2006

Sonny Cohn

On November 7th the trumpeter George 'Sonny' Cohn died in Chicago at the age
of 81, as George Fornek reports in the Chicago Sun-Times
<http://www.suntimes.com/news/obituaries/135073,CST-NWS-xcohn14.article> .
Cohn had played his best known solos in the Count Basie recordings of "April
in Paris" and "Li'l Darling". He started playing trumpet at the age of nine,
became a member of the drummer's Red Saunders' band in 1945. In this band
Count Basie heard him play and engaged him for his own orchestra. "He was
not famous - except among musicians", says Bob Koester, head of Delmark
Records. Cohn stayed with Basie into the 1990s, even after the Count had
died and his orchestra was led by several other front men. After that he
performed frequently with Morris Ellis and with the tenor saxophonist Von

A-Trane (Berlin)

In the Berliner Morgenpost
<http://www.morgenpost.de/content/2006/11/15/beilage/865726.html> , Tina
Molin reports about the club A-Trane in Berlin. Owner Sedal Sardan who was
born in Ankara and grew up in Berlin discovered jazz at a bebop concert in
Izmir. In 1991 he opened the BeBop Bar in Kreuzberg and took over the
A-Trane in 1997. The small room holds up to 80 people, but has been
frequented by stars like Diana Krall, Till Brönner, Wynton Marsalis and even
Herbie Hancock. Two years ago Hollywood star Kevin Spacey came by as a
customer and spontaneously sat in with the band to sing "Fly Me to the

Ganelin Trio 

For the Esslinger Zeitung
<http://www.ez-online.de/lokal/kultur/schaufenster/Artikel758537.cfm> , Udo
Klinner attended a concert of the Ganelin Trio at the cultural center
Dieselstraße in Eßlingen. The pianist Vyacheslav Ganelin was born in Moscow
was at home in Lithuania for a long time, and today lives in Israel. He
played with the saxophonist Petras Vysniauskas and the drummer Klaus Kugel.
He connected the grand piano with a synthesizer and had a second drum set
put next to it. Kugel had added many additional percussion instruments to
his drum set. The two free improvised pieces of the evening were titled
"Conversation No. 5" and "Conversation No. 6" and created "a bit of
helplessness for the listeners" (or for Klinner?). It would have been nice
to hear a bit more of a "bluesy atmosphere", but somehow the spark didn't
jump over in the half-full concert space.


Jazz News, 14. November 2006

Deutsche Promis Talking (about) Jazz

One of the biggest problems of jazz is perhaps that many contemporaries keep
their personal musical taste private and don't talk about it in the public.
Thus, we lack identification figures who report about their love of jazz in
talk shows or at similar events. Or if they do it is often received as
"Well, he is a bit strange, but nice". We know that Olaf Henkel is a jazz
fan (because he wrote so in his autobiography) and we know it from our
federal president (because he said so in one of his speeches), also of
Dieter Kürten (because once he sat a row behind us in a concert) and we
think so of Evelyn Hamann (because she applauded so enthusiastically years
ago at Denny's Swing Club). But there are more popular figures, of course,
who love jazz and whom we never suspected to be jazz fans. The Bonner
Bundeskunsthalle established a concert series ("Talking Jazz") inviting
popular jazz musicians or other prominent personalities whose love of jazz
is not so well known. Next Sunday Till Brönner performs in this series
together with ... Roberto Blanco. A praiseworthy endeavor, and we, too,
collect the names of prominent citizens who don't feel embarrassed to come
out as (once) secret jazz fans.

Marisa Monte

For the New York Times
, Larry Rohter met with the Brazilian singer Marisa Monte who does not want
to be stylistically pigeonholed. She loved Maria Callas when she was a
child, and her parents made her appreciate Samba and the African Brazilian
roots. She listened to recordings by Carmen Miranda, Pixinguinha and Dorival
Caymmi and sang Miranda's "South American Way" on her first record. Miranda
was great but had to make many compromises for her career. Monte also feels
at home within New Yorks pop avant garde, worked with musicians such as Arto
Lindsay, Laurie Anderson, Marc Ribot, Bernie Worrell or Philip Glass. She
likes to work with electronics, to manipulate the sound. "You can create new
instruments that don¹t exist or new tonalities for traditional instruments."
On her newest CD she wanted to use instruments one doesn't usually associate
with samba. She wanted the record to "sound like samba from someone who
lives in today¹s world and listens to drum ¹n¹ bass and contemporary pop".

Swingjugend in Harburg

For the Hamburger Abendblatt
<http://www.abendblatt.de/daten/2006/11/14/639228.html> , Andreas Schmidt
talks to 80 year old Heinrich Dringelburg from Harburg, a city close to
Hamburg, who was in solitary confinement in the police jail Fuhlsbüttel for
twelve days in 1941 because of his love for jazz. He belonged to the Harburg
swing scene, kids who listened to Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Duke
Ellington in spite of the music being banned by the Nazis. They also sported
a different look from the national socialist youth ideal as exemplified by
the Hitler Jugend. They often met with their portable gramophones and 78 rpm
records. Dringelburg was arrested because he got into a fight with other
kids who were member of the HJ. Luckily, the Gestapo never visited his home,
otherwise they might have found his gramophone and around 15 of his swing
records. Other "Swings" were imprisoned much longer because of "anglophile
tendencies", usually in the youth concentration camps Mohringen near
Göttingen or Uckermark near Fürstenberg. In Harburg the Swings met at the
Gloria-Café, at the Stadtparkrestaurant Frühlingsgarten or at the
Waldschänke in Borstelbek. When the Swings walked down the "Gänsewiese" -
Wilstorfer Straße between Gloria cinema and Bremer Straße - it could happen
that HJ patrols snatched the boys with the "long hair" and dragged them to
the next barber shop.


Jazz News, 13. November 2006

Solveig Sjettahjell

For The Independent
<http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/music/features/article1963497.ece> ,
Nick Coleman meets the Norwegian singer Solveig Slettahjell in Munich where
she performed at the jazz club Unterfahrt. The beer there is almost as tall
as him, the British music tourist remarks; everything is clean and everybody
speaks English. Slettahjell is one of the few singers of 21st century's
jazz, he says, who sing with soul. Her three records are lovely, but to hear
her on stage is even more exciting. She and her band Slow Motion "play a
highly improvised, very slow music which aspires to leave more out than it
keeps in. It is a music of cadence and space, impact and recess; as much
gospel, soul, hymnody, folk and pop as it is jazz and blues and the stark
surprises of free improvisation." She is not so much concerned about the
boundaries between the genres but more about what the music really consists
of, she says. She sings "Don't Explain", quiet and with many moments of
silence, and "it is as if the song is being heard by everyone, including the
musicians, for the first time". She tells Coleman about her childhood in the
family of a Protestant minister, that she listened to Aretha Franklin and
Whitney Houston, then took lessons from Sidsel Endresen at the Oslo Academy
of Music. She did not grow up with American jazz, she says, but only got to
know it through academy; before she listened mostly to the Norwegian version
of jazz. At the end of the concert she said "Gute Nacht", then "there was
absolute silence, ruptured only slightly by a long, withdrawing Bavarian

Till Brönner

For the Frankfurter Rundschau
em_cnt=1008574&> , Gerd Döring attends Till Brönner's concert at Darmstadt's
Centralstation. From the beginning the trumpeter made clear that he likes
the "softer variety of 1960s jazz". Influences from Westcoast jazz and Latin
sounds: the audience was delighted. The accompanying trio was able to put up
some steam as well as to play with the casual elegance of a club jazz
evening. The trumpeter's only blunder was to sing. Die Welt
<http://www.welt.de/data/2006/11/13/1108666.html> sees the trumpeter as a
chameleon. No matter whether in a jazz club, in front of a big band, in a
theater or on TV: Brönner always blends in professionally with his
surroundings. At Hamburg's Laiszhalle he played the diva. "At the beginning
the band tinkled a bit, (...) tinkled and tinkled, competent and
non-commital", until the star came onstage and played. "And play he can." He
plays jazz for beginners, the reviewer writes, jazz for lovers, jazz for
those who despise jazz, "harmonically without much friction, performed with
virtuosity, yet without overstatement". And luckily he refrained from
singing too much. In between all of the show business moments he played
Monk's "Round Midnight", "two minutes of jazz as a game which demands effort
and recompensates with delight". Which is an act he also commands.


Jazz News, 12. November 2006

Ashby Anderson

In the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia), Bonnie Newman Davis portrays the
pianist and composer Ashby Anderson, a member of the "Jazz Composers
Alliance Inc.", who just received a 7.500 dollar grant to compose a four
part suite. The suite called "The Historic Richmond Jazz Suite" will be
premiered on Wednesday at the Hyperlink Café in Richmond, Virginia. It is an
"aural portrait" of Richmond, Anderson says, and also salutes the Black
history of the city, the dancer and actor Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson and a
former slave jail. Anderson is also involved in trying to establish a
non-profit space to present jazz. Other members of the Jazz Composers
Alliance are the pianist Donald Crawford, the trombonist Sam Savage and the
trumpeter Mark Ingraham. All of them want to play their own music, want to
experiment. And they want to make their music heard in different settings
than the background music in restaurants.


Jazz News, 11. November 2006

Soweto Kinch

For The Voice <http://www.voice-online.co.uk/content.php?show=10267> ,
Davina Morris interviews the British saxophonist Soweto Kinch whose concert
will close this year's London Jazz Festival. The audience can expect
"cutting-edge hip-hop, alternative hip-hop and authentic jazz, blended with
a storyline and a few surprises". The festival is important, he says,
because it presents an alternative music neglected by the industry. Jazz is
reaching a younger audience these days, there are more jam sessions in which
young musicians can develop their style. Despite his success he does not
feel famous, rather he feels respected. He is outraged at the exclusion of
the jazz category from this year's MOBO awards and thinks "the whole awards
needs to be shaken up". Luckily, there is little competition within the jazz
community. In such a scene the musicians have to support each other. Kinch
started playing saxophone at the age of nine. A concert by Wynton Marsalis
spurred his interest in jazz, and Courtney Pine, Denys Baptiste and Jason
Yarde inspired him to really practice.

BIM Huis, Amsterdam

For the Berliner Zeitung
<http://www.berlinonline.de/berliner-zeitung/print/feuilleton/602764.html> ,
Christian Broecking visits the BIM Huis in Amsterdam. Dave Douglas had told
him that the audience has become more attentive since the club banned
smoking. Smoking is permitted in the bar, says the club's manager Huub van
Riel, but in the concert space itself people should have the chance to
concentrate. Broecking is delighted: "The acoustics in the concert space are
nearly perfect, one can hear every detail. In the close-by bar the music is
transmitted in CD quality. It is rare to find a jazz club with such an
excellent sound." The Amsterdam jazz scene is an international one, but the
musicians from all over the world clearly identify with the Dutch scene.

Julius Hemphill

For the New York Times
, Ben Ratliff attends a concert of the Julius Hemphill Sextet at New York's
Miller Theater. Hemphill died in 1995, but the saxophonist Marty Ehrlich,
the trumpeter Baikida Carroll, the cellist Erik Friedlander, the drummer
Pheeroan akLaff and ten other musicians keep his memory alive by performing
his sometimes very complicated compositions. The fourteen musicians played
the complete music from Hemphill's album "Dogon AD" from 1972 which out of
copyright reasons has not been reissued on CD. The music asks for different
settings: a saxophone sextet, a classical solo pianist and a classical
string quartet. To do full justice to Hemphill's compositional ouevre one
might have added an orchestra, poets, dancers, actors and film. Hemphill had
developed his own harmonic language, reports Ratliff, a language which
toward the end of his life he mastered with his saxophone sextet. Some of
his voicings are unmistakable his own personal style. The concert also
featured Hemphill's arrangements of Mingus compositions for string quartet
as well as the influence of gospel, blues and R&B on his music.


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