GYSPY JAZZ CARAVAN THROUGH JULY 2021
by Norman Warwick
Among the jazz listings from around the world that drop on our desk, slip into our spam, or misplace themselves in our missed calls lists we are particularly aware of those received from Lanzarote sources. These will be listings of jazz events (and rock, and classical and folk lore) that we will be able to attend, of course, so they bring us particular excitement. None more so that a newsletter from Miguel Angel Ferrer, a press officer at the Cabildo (government) for arts and culture and perhaps many other categories as well.
It was fantastic to receive towards the end of June his press release announcing 14 different major arts events scheduled to take place in July and reflect our increased confidence here in re-adapting to living with a semblance of normality under a hopefully receding covid cloud. The item that most excited us was the announcement that Snarky Puppy (left) will be appearing at El Salinero, Victor Gupa Theatre in our capital city of Arrecife, just thirty km up the road from us on Monday 23rd July. We are promised a 75 minute performance as part of the 30th International Festival de Canarias Jazz And Más.
After a decade of incessant tours and recordings, the collective formed in Texas by Michael League in 2003 and composed of about 25 musicians is considered by the press and the public as one of the leading jazz bands. In the last decade it has won four Grammy Awards (Best R&B Performance in 2014, and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in 2016, 2017 and 2021), categories that prove that Snarky Puppy isn’t exactly a jazz band. But it’s not a fusion band either, and it’s definitely not an improvisational band.
Snarky Puppy will present the themes of their latest work, Immigrance, (right) in which they combine an extraordinary variety of idioms of jazz, rock, world music and funk.
We have seen concerts at the same El Salinero theatre in the past month which have brought us the songs of Lorca, delivered brilliantly by vocal, guitar and trombone reviewed in our archives at Love Of Lorca dated 11th June 2021) as well as real string-jazz from Alexis Lemes, Javier Infante and Javier Collina which we reviewed under the title of Two Become Three on 12th June 2021.
Earlier, in May, we had marvelled at an incredible partnership between piano and guitar featuring Chano Dominguez and Hamilton De Holande, which we reviewed later that month in an article entitled Rhythm And Language in an article still available in our music archives.
As recently as last week there were some inclusions of slinky jazz in the repertoire of the incredibly diverse Bohemia Lanzarote and their guests. Our review of this will be posted live next week, so watch out for a piece entitled Language Of The Gods.
From those listing operations we mentioned earlier, though, there was even further good news. Jazz In Reading always keep us updated with news of their wonderful jazzland area of the UK. They are delighted to announce a pair of star-studded events coming up at The Crooked Billet in Stoke Row. The Gypsy Jazz Festival is billed as a ´Memorial Celebration Of Jazz Guitarist Ian Cruickshank´to be held on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st July. You are advised to arrive around 6.30 for a 7.00 pm start of an evening that will end at 10.30 pm. Tickets are available at 30 pounds
Performers will include Ian´s friends and Europe´s finest Gypsy Jazz musicians including Jeff Green, Jezz Cook, John Coverdale, Nils Solberg, Alyn Shipton, Alan Barnes, Pete Morgan, Ade Holland, Chris Garrick, Andy Crowdy, Denny Ilett, Trevor Davies and Paul Vernon Chester. Special guests on june 20th include Peter Joprand and Howard Moore and on the 21st John Etheridege and Mike Piggott will be among the guests. The audience can expect further guest gypsy musicians on both evenings.
With performances on two stages this will be a non-stop festival of Gypsy Jazz, celebrating and remembering ian Cruickshank, a man who woirked on the tv programme, The Django Legacy and introduced numerous European Gyspy musicians to UK audiences. He live locally in Woodcote on the Oxfordshire / Berkshire borders and recorded numerous Gyspy Jazz albums.
He was also the author of two acclaimed books exploring Django Reinhardt & Gypsy Jazz. Local Beatle George Harrison was a gypsy jazz fan and Ian often visited George at his Henley home, Friar Park. Ian passed April 29th 2017 and his wife Cathy and daughter Bonnie have given the Crooked Billet memorial celebrations their support and blessing. The Crooked Billet Gypsy Jazz festival offers two superb evening packed with Britain´s best musicians, all of whom have previously worked with Ian. There will be socially distanced tables to dine at and listen from. For further information, tickets and table reservations contact the Crooked Billet, Stoke Row 01491 681048/682304 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Jazz is certainly one of the arts genres that falls into the category of ´music that´s going places´ and it is no coincidence that particular phrase is also the name of an extremely important listings service provided by Rob Adam. He makes it clear in the mailings we receive from him that he would like not only us to share with our contacts list, but also that you share with you own contact list of like-minded friends and jazz lovers. So as Rob says, please feel free to note the information below and to ´pass it on´. As he says ´it has been quite a wait, but live concerts are returning´ and it´s probably no surprise that the first one he mentions has already sold out.
(left) The Fergus McCreadie Trio´s East Neuk Festival debut at The Boathouse near St Monan´s on Friday 2nd takes the pianist close to the inspiration point, behind The Old Harbour, for his debut album Turas. He will be making two appearances before the event, both in Manchester on Monday 26th and two new video releases are imminent. Meanwhile you can also cat Fegus playing on-line, in concert with his late friend, Chick Corea.
Tommy Smith (right) has three cathedral concerts to deliver in July. The saxophonist will play in St Macher´s Cathedral in Aberdeen on Thursday, 8th July, the Lichfield Cathedral in Staffordshire on Thursday, 15th and finally at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh on Saturday, 17th. The player sees these concerts as celebrations of melody and he´ll be drawing on tunes from the jazz, folk and ´praise-song´ traditions. Using no amplification, he will work with the individual acoustic settings of each building in which to work the natural sound of his saxophone and his formidable tonal variation and sound production.
Another excellent musician, Matt Carmichael (left) brings his Blue Lamp ensemble to Aberdeen on Thursday, 1st July. His debut album Where Will The River Flow has received great reviews, and enjoyed radio play around the world from Canada to Australia and all radio stations in between. He finished his final year at Scotland´s Royal Conservatoire, by becoming the first student to win an award for improvisation, composition and arrangement, given at the end of each academic year.
Sidetracks and Detours readers might remember Steve Bewick´s article, called We Are The Music Makers on 7th April last year. With the piece still available in our archives, Tina May (right) has a forthcoming live gig at that same 606 Club in London on Sunday, 25th July. Britain´s leading female jazz singer will be accompanied by a trio including the piano of Robin Aspland, the bass of Simon Thorpe and the percussion of Winston Clifford. The gig will also be live-streamed, and so might boast the bonus of Clifford making a vocal contribution as he did on Tina´s My Kind Of Love album, recorded in 2014. On this evening, thought, she will also be performing songs from her latest album, 52nd Street (And Other Tales) as well as from elsewhere in her extensive, and ever expanding repertoire.
Playtime will be enjoying some play time over the summer to re-charge their batteries and plan future development and activities. There will, however, be two Playtime events in July, with sax player Soweto Kincho (left) joining them on line for a performance on 17th July. The quartet will then play at Pathhead Village Hall on 30th July, with a reduced, capacity, socially distanced audience in attendance. E-mail email@example.com for information and tickets.
Meanwhile The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra´s astonishing four-part streaming of Where Rivers Meet is still available to see here, courtesy of ´music that´s going places´. This jazz and live art extravagant fusion has received rave reviews from professional critics and commentators alike. The soloists, including saxophonist Martin Kershaw (right) , have had praise heaped upon them, not only for their own particular contributions but also for the ability of the entire orchestra to navigate joyous and intricate arrangements that sees them ranked amongst the best in the world.
Lucien Johnson, (left) the New Zealand saxophonist, has won Best Jazz Composition in the Apra Axcosnz awards Blue Rain off his album, Wax//Wane, earning the track more radio coverage.
It´s also interesting to see that Travel Guide, Lonely Planet has described Wellington, NZ, as the ´coolest little capital in the world´ and according to ´music that´s going places´ the city´s jazz community are doing their best to live up to that. There is, for example, an imminent release of a new album, The River Tethys, by pianist Ben Wilcock, featuring a quartet of musicians including Wellington-based, but Scottish born, drummer, John Rae. The album is a vibrant collection of original tracks or spontaneous interpretations of often surprising choices, inspired by Dan Simmons Hyperion novels.
The imports from New Zealand keep on coming and another is to be an album launched at the Wellington Jazz Festival. Sanctuary is the current recording from sax player and composer Jasmine Lovell-Smith and Jake Baxendale. The music is played by a vibrant and imaginative eleven piece sound that developed over weekly sessions in Wellington´s sadly now closed down Tuatara Third-Eye venue. The album, though, shows the benefits of those road-testing shows. Primary sources for this piece were newsletters from Jazz in Reading and from ´music that´s going places´ both of whom provide comprehensive jazz listings and coverage.
This article was collated by Norman Warwick (right), owner and editor of Sidetracks And Detours. Norman, who also writes a weekly arts column for Lanzarote Information is a writer and broadcaster, poet and songwriter and is one of four founding members of Joined Up Jazz Journalists, JUJJ, formed in 2020. JUJJ members will share their own enthusiasm for jazz to grow their own knowledge of the genre to better serve readers and listeners and to become part of a synergy of media already serving the jazz scene. The other members of JUJJ include Susana Fondon, Norman´s colleague from Lanzarote Information who writes and conducts interviews on the island´s live jazz events, jazz historian, researcher and ad writer Gary Heywood-Everett is also a founder member, along with Steve Bewick, writer and broadcaster of Hot Biscuits jazz programme on www.radio-fc.co.uk, a former co-presenter with Norman for five years of the all across the arts radio show. JUJJ has already borne fruit by hosting the inaugural annual Joined Up Jazz Festival earlier this year, enjoying support from the likes of Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Fetival and Jazz in Reading. Steve Bewick took JUJJ one step further when working recently with Hoáng Minh Chau, writer of the Hanoi Jazz Lovers blog, to create The Birth Of A New Cool published on Sidetracks And Detours on 28th May 2021, thus introducing us to more than 7,000 potential new readers. Today´s pages were created with reference to Jazz in Reading, Guildford Jazz and Jazz Times magazine as primary sources. If you would like to submit an article on your own arts topic Sidetracks And Detours would be delighted to hear from you. If so, please send your article, as an attachment to an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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