Posts Tagged ‘Jazz’


Just a month into the year and we’re already hearing some terrific new music. I don’t easily get excited by musical sound these days. Maybe because I’ve become somewhat of a jaded listener. But the new album ‘Gamak’ by the Italy-born US-based jazz saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa has got this old dog’s ears all perked up. Mahanthappa has become one of the most acclaimed alto saxophonists of recent times. His sense of melody in a lethal combination with free experimentalism reminds me a bit of John Coltrane. A series of excellent albums finds its current peak in ‘Gamak’. The quartet of musicians on this one replaces the piano with the guitar. Mahanthappa’s band-mate in the Jack DeJohnette Group, guitarist David Fiuczynski forms a brilliant, fiery musical partnership with the saxophonist and Dan Weiss on the drums and bassist Francois Moutin lay the perfect rhythm foundation for the other two to explode. (more…)


He opened doors. Dave Brubeck opened the doors to a hitherto mystical world of Jazz for people like me. He uncovered for me the riches of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Chick Corea, Weather Report, Robert Glasper, Vijay Iyer, Brad Mehldau…a whole area of beauty.

A tune that I heard countless times before I knew its name, ‘Take Five’ was, no it still is, the most recognisable jazz composition for me. It’s what got me started listening to jazz, a form of music that I had till then thought inaccessible. And through jazz I learnt to appreciate music that went beyond pop. My mind opened to possibilities beyond popular song structure. The man, his bands and his music helped lay the foundation for my musical education. And nothing and no one touches me the way music does.

He opened doors. He opened doors and now he has left the building. Today I wept.

I don’t listen to as much jazz as I’d like to or should. Perhaps because it’s a very involving music. At least for me it is. It makes me sit up and listen with an alertness that I don’t always display for most other genres – there just seems to be so much going on. Maybe I’m just conditioned to behaving that way with jazz. I listen, I feel enriched, I feel drained, but sadly, that exhaustion seems to dictate the frequency with which I pop a jazz CD into the player. But when I do play a jazz recording, it’s almost always a very rewarding experience as it has been with The Robert Glasper Experiment’s 2012 release ‘Black Radio’.

‘Black Radio’ pushes the boundaries of the genre and at the same tries to reach out to a new audience used to other forms of music. (more…)

Nope, this one’s not about hip-hop. Had it been, it would’ve been titled ‘Shorty ’n da Farm House’…something like that.

This is just a bit of jazz, and an excellent bit of it too. I had previously heard Trombone Shorty (Troy Andrews) and James Farm (a collective of four of the brightest modern jazz artistes, the first letters of whose names form most of the ‘James’ of this outfit) online and on podcasts. (more…)