Monday, March 16, 2015

The Other Side of the Rainbow is in Wakefield

On Friday Wakefield Jazz hosts 'the Other Side of the Rainbow' the songs of Duncan Lamont. Duncan is a renowned saxophonist, having played with many of the greats, Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman and Count Basie to name but three. In between the touring and playing Duncan has also amassed a large collection of songs he has written and has a Grammy nomination under his belt, on Friday a selection of these songs will be performed by two singers, Esther Bennett and Beverley Beirne with John Crawford on Piano, Simon Read on Bass, Matt Parkinson on Drums and of course Duncan Lamont on Sax.

Esther has been touring these songs with Duncan at all the major clubs in the south, with singers Sarah Moule, Tina May and Beverley Beirne.



I caught up with Esther for a chat:

MBS - When did you first come across the music of Duncan Lamont?
EB - I knew who Duncan was, but first met him properly at the 606 Jazz Club properly to talk to.
MBS - What draws you to Duncan's  songs?
EB - The words, that cover all of life's experience. The craftsmen ship of the harmonies and melodic lines, the fact that they cover every area of the jazz canon. I often wish to cover certain aspects of the jazz repertoire i.e covering songs from "Kind of Blue" or learning more songs written by Jobim - Duncan covers these areas/feels/flavours in his songwriting - so as well as representing any patricluar aspect of the jazz repertoire one is also singing an original.


MBS - It's unique to have more than one singer on a project, what inspired this idea?
EB - Duncan likes as many singers to perform his songs as possible. There are also different songs that attract different personalities and life experiences so the other singer will be able to do the songs that I don't think appeal to or represent my experiences.
I think that this also makes the whole gig more interesting - variety being the spice of life etc.
There's also the practical angle ie admin wise where you have another pair of hands to get gigs and promote them and bring in an audience.
MBS - How long has the project been going on?
EB - About 3-4 years.
MBS - How did you meet Beverley?
EB - Through you! and through facebook, which has it's negative sides but - can also prove to be incredibly useful for all kinds of reasons.

In fact it was through a negative experience on fb that we met - you were defending singers where a rather offensive but not particularly professional musician was being abusive about us. I then found out that your wife was a singer and that you were based in Leeds and I thought - ah - if I'm sourcing gigs up north it would be sensible, for all sorts of reasons, to combine with this very talented lady.



MBS - Have you any other gigs in Yorkshire?
EB - Yes - we're performing at The Ilkley Jazz Festival! As I'm sure you know! 
There are some "maybes" but it's not sensible to mention them until they are confirmed.
MBS - What else is on the horizon?
EB - Other gigs in London with Tina May (606 Jazz Club, Pizza Express Dean St and Music in the Garden at Wavendon and my own Birthday gig at The Vortex London where I will be doing other material that I have been working on and some numbers from my CD "Just in Time" which was produced by Ian Shaw
MBS - Do you like Marmalade.
EB - Yes I do - chunky cut
For more information please check out the Wakefield Jazz website

A track of one of Duncan's songs sung by Esther Bennett

A live track of one of Duncan's Songs sung by Beverley Beirne 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

John Bailey Quintet – “Black Ship Bright Sea” ASC Records

There is a certain fragility and romantic melancholy surrounding the sound of the flugelhorn in jazz. Place it within the context of rippling acoustic guitar and saxophone, and murmuring bass and drums, and the combination can be mesmerising. This is certainly the case with the John Bailey Quintet’s album release “Black Ship Bright Sea”. Featuring original material composed by guitarist John, the quintet features Richard Iles on flugelhorn, Tim France on saxophone, Gavin Barras on double bass and Steve Hanley on drums. Information on ASC records website reveals that,
“The compositional devices rely on crossing of melodies between instruments and simultaneous melodies instead of simple harmonized ones. Harmonically the movement of chords is not based particularly on a usual system seen in jazz composition; the techniques are more in line with those of Arvo Part, each note having absolute importance and all tones present for a reason.”
What this, rather eloquently, describes is the predominant feeling that these pieces are the product of both jazz and twentieth century classical music influences. “Strength in Numbers” is a sumptuous showcase for delicate nylon string guitar phrasing interwoven with brooding flugelhorn, whilst “Sfumato” draws heavily on modern classic ambience giving the music an altogether more enigmatic texture. There is, however, mischievousness to tunes such as “Positive Thinking” and “Flight Path” which illustrate the freedom of influences evident. “A Green Sun (I-IV)” features luxurious nylon string guitar playing, drawing in Eastern European, Spanish and classical dialects, emphasizing the poignancy that can be captured on this instrument within this framework. Fluently drawing all the moods evoked together in the final short piece “It’s A Strange World” underlines seamlessly the aesthetic at work on “ Black Ship Bright Sea”. Most certainly, music for the head and the heart.

As “Jazz Goes To Leeds” has claimed previously when discussing the work of John Bailey, the music here will obviously be of interest to anyone who has a fondness for the ECM/Rune Grammofon catalogue, with it’s brooding Scandinavian nature. This, however, may be far too simplistic a statement to make to fully understand the tracks that make up “Black Ship Bright Sea”. There is the melancholy and scholarly aspect to these pieces, but there is also a playfulness which sets it apart on its’ own to produce an album of both intellect and mischief.

John Bailey Website

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Jazz Goes To Leeds radio

Chapel FM in Seacroft, East Leeds, has kindly given us the opportunity to produce a "Jazz Goes to Leeds" radio show on a semi-regular basis. They can be found as and any upcoming broadcasts will be advertised on Twitter @JazzGoesToLeeds .

 Presented by John, the intention is to feature jazz, improvised and left field music from in and around the Leeds area. Any suggestions for future music, live appearances and interviews would be greatly appreciated.

Below is the opportunity to hear (and see to some extent) the first FM broadcast in December 2014.

"An hour of jazz and improvised music from in and around the Leeds area, illustrating the diversity of styles that the music can incorporate. Jazz Goes To Leeds will feature recorded music from around the region in conjunction with live music and discussion with Sam Jackson and his latest “Drawing Hands” project"

Listen again to the first "Jazz Goes To Leeds" FM broadcast