During the interval at last night’s magnificent Arvo Pärt concert at the Bridgewater Hall I sneaked a look at the latest news on my phone. At the Brussels eurozone summit, Greece was being forced to accept financial colonialism in terms as humiliating as those imposed on Germany at Versailles in 1919. Back in the concert … Continue reading Arvo Pärt in Manchester: music that fulfils a deep human need
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 … Continue reading Allen Toussaint performs his songbook at Ronnie Scott’s
Two years ago, in February 2013, I wrote an adulatory review of a concert at the Liverpool Phil by the Heritage Blues Orchestra. At the time they were pretty much an unknown quantity in the UK, having only recently released their first album, And Still I Rise. Last night they were back – and gave … Continue reading The Heritage Blues Orchestra’s triumphant return to the Phil
Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint – three of the piano-player greats who have emerged from New Orleans, that laboratory of musical invention, the city where every stream of American music has converged and shape-shifted. None have transmogrified the music to the same degree as a fourth pianist, Mac Rebennack who reinvented himself as Dr John, fusing voodoo psychedelia … Continue reading Dr John at the Phil, Liverpool: Such a Night!
Hard to believe, but this year it will be half a century since Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Ron McKernan, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann agreed that the Grateful Dead would be a cool name for the band in which they had been playing together for several months. For a man in his sixties, I’ve spent … Continue reading Sunshine Daydream: The Grateful Dead 50 years on
Erik Satie An evening in the presence of pianist Joanna MacGregor is always guaranteed to be both enjoyable and informative so we didn’t hesitate when we saw the Capstone theatre advertising ‘an evening devoted to the eccentric genius of Erik Satie’, presented by MacGregor. We were not disappointed. As well as being a solo artist who has performed around … Continue reading Joanna MacGregor and the eccentric genius of Erik Satie
John Surman Last weekend we marked the opening of the 2014 London Jazz Festival by attending concerts by two jazz greats: John Surman, celebrating his seventieth year, and Abdullah Ibrahim, now in his 80th year. On Friday evening, while upstairs Guardian journalists were beavering away producing the next day’s newspaper, we were at the elegant new(ish) … Continue reading At London Jazz Festival: John Surman and Abdullah Ibrahim