Deepest Cuts of October 2018
Things ramp up musically come October. September is a slow opening up of the tune taps but by this point there is a quickening flurry of quality records dropping at about the pace of leaves from the trees.
Anyone thinking about hibernating should stop. The nights drawing in just means that the best parties are on their way. We've already had the surprise, one weekend only, reopening of Total Refreshment Centre (if you missed it, check the reunion party at Studio 9294 this Friday 2nd Nov), there's a raft of album launch shows across the next month, and it's the London Jazz Festival in a few weeks too.
Here's some tracks which have been released, announced or have otherwise made it to my ears recently.
1. Pete Beardsworth - To The Place [Running Circle]
I have spent precisely one day of my life in Nottingham so far but I'm increasingly thinking I need to put some proper time into investigating the music scene. The big breakout story of the past year must be the fantastic Yazmin Lacey whose smoky voice has found a home on First Word Records.
There's an entanglement in her story with Pete Beardsworth - not only has the saxophonist and pianist produced two of Lacey's EPs, he's also part of Nottingham jazzers Three Body Trio, who were also on Brownswood's Future Bubblers talent development scheme in the same year as.. Lacey. All three have released on Running Circle, which as far as I can tell, is also run by Pete Beardsworth.
Back on topic - this is the debut solo EP from Pete Beardsworth written during a lonely year spent in recovery from a traumatic accident. With this set, he has conjured beauty out of somewhere dark and this tune in particular - To The Place - has been stuck in my head solidly since first listen. The catchy melodic line plays off the more frantic sax passages and the heartening sfx of playground-like chatter completes the joyful package.
Catch the set live at the Jazz Café on December 9th.
2. Julien Dyne - Copernicus [Soundway Records]
I can't wait to play this out. Big tune from NZ-based drummer and producer Julien Dyne. A Red Bull Music Academy graduate with multiple releases on BBE, Dyne's new material has inched a little closer to the dance floor and Soundway Records have dropped this new set, his fourth. Teal is a big'n, a little bit afro-house with a tasty horn line and a fat clav in the mix for good measure.
3. Web Web - Land Of The Arum Flower [Compost Records]
This is a magic collaboration between the German jazz quartet Web Web and Majid Bekkas who is a Moroccan jazz and Gnawa singer and gembri player (a three-stringed bass lute). The result is a timeless track which begins as a solid, fairly trad, ride heavy jazz number and slips into a haunting piece as the vocal and unsettling minor organ lines rise up - the sax solo which follows runs with this feeling into a melancholy final head before it all begins to fall away.
4. Te'Amir - Blue Nile [Tru Thoughts]
From the second of two recent EPs melding his experience as a drummer and beatmaker in the LA scene with his Ethiopian heritage and early influence from his Dad's record collection, this is a high-quality, driving, percussive workout by Te'Amir.
5. Marijus Aleksa - Run The Sun
My highlight from a set of four jazz-house leaning tunes by London based Lithuanian drummer Marijus Aleksa, all of which clock in at over 8 minutes. Delicately put together, there's a lot going on but the keys, vibraphone, percussion and bass lines all find space in the mix to stand out. I reckon there's an uncredited bass clarinet in there as well, unless that's a mad-convincing synth.
Catch him live as part of Rhythm Section's next Jazz Café showcase on November 29th alongside Kwake Bass and the Neue Grafik Ensemble.
6. Maisha - Osiris [Brownswood, drops November 9th]
Led by drummer Jake Long, this is some spiritual jazz from a range of the capital's top calibre young players - let's name drop to hammer the point home - Nubya Garcia (sax/flute), Shirley Tetteh (guitar), Amané Suganami (keys), Twm Dylan (bass), Tim Doyle and Yahael Camara-Onono (both percussion).
The album launch party is at Ghost Notes on November 22nd - don't miss.
These are just a handful of the tracks I've spun on Deeper Cuts recently, so if you're after more, do check out my shows for September and October.
The October 25th show features Gondwana Records boss, trumpeter and composer Matthew Halsall chatting spiritual jazz, meditation and 10 years of the label.
Thanks for reading and I'll leave you with a couple of further gig tips..
Friday 16th November - Chip Wickham - Corsica Studios
Brilliant Mancunian jazz flautist, now signed to Madrid label Lovemonk and in London for a Jazz Festival show.
Tuesday 20th November - SEED Ensemble - Vortex Jazz Club
I love the Vortex, but I'm not sure how easily they will fit all 10 pieces of saxophonist and composer Cassie Kinoshi's SEED Ensemble onto their cosy stage.
Deepest Cuts of August 2018
The received wisdom is that nothing happens in August. People slip away on holiday and refuse to make any decisions until September comes and the slow trudge towards Christmas begins. The gigs drop off as bands roll around the festival circuit and releases slow from a flood to a trickle.
Whilst that is the case to an extent, I'm here to bust through the Autumn-is-coming-where's-the-heatwave-gone cynical mindset and make the case that there's still been a whole host of quality pushed into the ether. Further to that, that the slight increase in musical breathing space has allowed some tunes from the last couple of months to get a proper hearing and float to the top of the groove pond.
Here's some tracks which have been released, announced or have otherwise made it to my ears this month.
1. Dur-Dur Band - Yabaal [Analog Africa, drops September 14th]
Ostinato Records put out a wonderful release last year of Somalian music called Sweet As Broken Dates (check it) which has set the bar for 1980s Somali reissues very high and increased (at very least my own) interest in music from that place, time and culture. So it's great to hear that the first two albums of one of the era's biggest bands and purveyors of Mogadishu funk, are getting a new outing. There are some extensive liner notes if you click through on the Bandcamp link above which are well worth a read - and if you can get your hands on a copy of Straight No Chaser #98, there's a great interview with Analog Africa's Samy Ben Redjeb on his archive digging trips to Somalia. (Also, if these two volumes are still not enough for you, Awesome Tapes From Africa put out another a few years back)
There's also going to be a live show to launch the album in London on September 15th at Redon with a new incarnation of the band formed around their two longest serving members. Don't miss.
2. Allysha Joy - Know Your Power [Gondwana Records, drops September 21st]
Melbourne's 30/70 have had a great couple of years, and for me are scratching that jazzy-neo-soul itch that Hiatus Kaiyote created and will be the monkey on my back forever. I digress. Allysha Joy sings and plays keys for 30/70 and she has, what promises to be, an incredibly powerful solo album coming soon on Matthew Halsall's Gondwana Records. Great vocal delivery with a rawness that contends with the horns during the tuff jazz section and evolves into a courier of sweet melodies for the RnB finale.
Catch her playing as part of Gondwana 10 at the Roundhouse, October 20th.
3. Animanz - Exotic Other [Tru Thoughts, drops September 28th]
A London quartet led by Argentinian-Congolese vocalist Juanita Euka, they've been knocking about London for a few years but this is their first full length release. Doing a little digging, it seems they played (the late, great) Passing Clouds a few times, and I can see that this fascinating blend of latin vibes and fusion would fit perfectly there. There's a lot of promise with this record and I've only heard the one track. Incoming next month.
4. Sampology - SMILE [Middle Name Records]
Sampology came on my radar with a huge tune called Thicker Than Water a while back which I played out relentlessly and shows no signs of getting old. So I'm very happy that a little under two years later, the Brisbane producer is back with another beautiful set, aptly titled Mt Glorious. No matter what mood you're in, you'll be in a better one as soon as this track gets rolling.
5. Lokkhi Terra meets Dele Sosimi - Cubafro [Funkiwala]
I've had the joy of seeing Dele Sosimi a few times, most recently when I was over in the Brecon Beacons for Green Man Radio. Dele is famously a former keys player for Fela Kuti but he has been leading his own band in the UK for a long time, most recently releasing on Wah Wah 45s. Here he combines with pianist Kishon Khan's shape shifting 'fusionistas' Lokkhi Terra, for a record combining (the title gives it away) Cuban music and afrobeat. Tasty.
6. DjuehDjoah & Lieutenant Nicholson - El Niño [Hot Casa Records]
This is a slight cheat as this record came out at the start of the summer. However, it's been on heavy rotation and stuck in my head for the last two months so I feel it's justified. Tune of the summer for me from the French production duo. Rock solid, funky disco smash. Guaranteed uplift. Full album to come this November on Hot Casa - keep an ear out.
These are just a handful of the tracks I've spun on Deeper Cuts recently, so if you're after more, do check out my shows for August.
Thanks for reading and I'll leave you with a couple of gig tips..
Tuesday 28th August - The Onyx Collective - Shacklewell Arms - Free
Exciting jazz collective out of NY, a trio of great releases on Big Dada this last year alone, free show in a nice venue. Sold.
Wednesday 12th September - Binker & Moses - Jazz Café - £13.20
MOBO winning, prolific and immensely talented duo. Binker Golding on sax with Moses Boyd on drums and a whole host of skilled collaborators from across the generations. Jason Yarde supports. Going to be a special one.
Radio Producer and DJ.