The music in my head (part 3): jazz and beyond

The music in my head (part 3): jazz and beyond

This is the third post in which I recall some of the music I’ve enjoyed in 2015 but never got round to writing about. This one is dedicated (with two exceptions) to music recorded on the record label that is, for me, indispensable – ECM. There’s a lot of jazz, examples of the gift of ECM’s guiding spirit Manfred Eicher for bringing together musicians from different contexts to create wonderful sounds, and some of the contemporary music released on the ECM New Series label. Continue reading “The music in my head (part 3): jazz and beyond”

Rico Rodriguez: trombone player who straddled ska, reggae, Two-Tone and jazz

Rico Rodriguez: trombone player who straddled ska, reggae, Two-Tone and jazz

The death was announced this week of Rico Rodriguez of one of the great figures from the era of Jamaican ska music in the sixties, through to the British Two-Tone movement in the 1980s.

Later, along with musicians like Denys Baptiste, Andy Sheppard, Guy Barker and Annie Whitehead, he was a member of Jazz Jamaica, Gary Crosby’s big band that fused ska, reggae and jazz (I remember seeing them on the Massive tour in 2004, putting on a show full of musical sparkle and exuberant energy). From 1996 until 2012, Rico was also a member of the Jools Holland Orchestra. Continue reading “Rico Rodriguez: trombone player who straddled ska, reggae, Two-Tone and jazz”

Jackson Pollock at Tate Liverpool: wrestling with a blind spot

Jackson Pollock at Tate Liverpool: wrestling with a blind spot

Well I tried, didn’t I? I have to admit, I’ve always had a blind spot where Jackson Pollock’s concerned. So I was not that keen on seeing Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots at Tate Liverpool. But I was persuaded by my daughter – who was blown away by the Pollocks she saw in MoMA a few years ago – to give it a go. I came away still unconvinced. Continue reading “Jackson Pollock at Tate Liverpool: wrestling with a blind spot”

The Atlantic Records Story: the music in my head for sixty years

The Atlantic Records Story: the music in my head for sixty years

I’ve been listening to The Atlantic Records Story, a BBC Radio 6 documentary series narrated by Johnnie Walker that tells the story of the Atlantic Records label (just one example of the gems you can discover via the updated iPlayer Radio app which now allows you to download programmes to your phone, where they remain until they self-destruct, usually after 28 days). Continue reading “The Atlantic Records Story: the music in my head for sixty years”

Allen Toussaint performs his songbook at Ronnie Scott’s

Allen Toussaint performs his songbook at Ronnie Scott’s

On Monday evening, waiting for Allen Toussaint to begin his solo set at  Ronnie Scott’s, I recalled the times in the early sixties when I would lie in bed listening to songs like ‘Working in a Coalmine’, ‘Mother in Law’ and ‘Fortune Teller’ on Radio Luxembourg.  Although I was not aware of the fact at the time, all these hit singles had been written and produced by Toussaint.

It was only in the 1970s, when reading the liner notes of albums by Bonnie Raitt, Little Feat and Lowell George, that I discovered that songs such as ‘What is Success’, ‘On Your Way Down’ and ‘What Do You Want the Girl To Do’ were authored by Toussaint – and that this was the same man who had been responsible for those hits by Lee Dorsey, Ernie K Doe and Benny Spellman I had enjoyed a decade earlier. Continue reading “Allen Toussaint performs his songbook at Ronnie Scott’s”

John Renbourn: buckets of tears

John Renbourn: buckets of tears

Tomorrow evening I was planning on seeing John Renbourn play at the Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, one stop on a tour he was doing with guitarist Wizz Jones. This morning I opened the paper to learn that he was dead. Continue reading “John Renbourn: buckets of tears”

Coltrane’s A Love Supreme 50 years on: symbol of black pride

Coltrane’s <em>A Love Supreme</em> 50 years on: symbol of black pride

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the release of John Coltrane’s album, A Love Supreme, ‘easily one of the most important records ever made’, in the estimation of Sam Samuelson at AllMusic. A Love Supreme was recorded by John Coltrane’s quartet on 9 December 1964 and is generally considered to be Coltrane’s greatest work. Continue reading “Coltrane’s A Love Supreme 50 years on: symbol of black pride”