PHEW! Just taking a little break from sorting some tunes for tonight’s FREEDOM! Always good to play out… gives you a chance to roam through the vinyl and touch down on music you have heard in eons. Thoroughly enjoyed John Handy playing live at the Monterey Jazz Festival… totally Sunday afternnon.
I’m posting artist/filmaker Hen Petts’ excellent film of Louis Moholo, Steve Noble and Wadada Leo Smith as a prelude to tonight’s FREEDOM! session at Charlie Wright’s in Hoxton and I’m also happy to announce that Wadada Leo Smith has been nominated for a Jazz Journalists Assoc Life Time Achievement award and is a finalist for a Pulitzer for music prize with his ‘Ten Freedom Summers. Unfortunately, his recent attempts to secure ‘kickstarter’ style funding for the 22nd part of his ‘Ten Freedom Summers’ opus, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of The March on Washington D.C.- August 28, 1963, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, was unsuccessful. Hopefully the Pulitzer nomination will help this project come to fruition.
Definitely looking forward to tonight’s FREEDOM! as South African master drummer, Louis Moholo, promises to be in house. I’m still reeling from the recent Black Top performance at Cafe Oto whch featured Louis as a guest player along with Satoko Fukada on violin and Fumi Okiji on vocals. According to vibes-controller Orphy Robinson, whatever surprises he and Pat Thomas had planned fell by the wayside as the dynamic interplay between the musicians pushed each piece relentlessly forward. Satoko Fukada dazzled throughout and was clearly enjoying being in the moment while Orphy Robinson’s offbeat approach to steel pan resulted in one dazzling and uplifting percussive exchange with Moholo. This project never fails to mesmerise and surpise.
Unfortunately, we seem to have a bit of a roadblock at the beginning and end of each month. Hard on the heels of FREEDOM! comes Jez Nelsons’ Jazz In The Round at the Cockpit – always a dynamic top value session. This month is no exception and it features an album launch for pianist Kit Downes, the Monk-inspired excursions of Tony Kofi and the ensemble of 21 year old drummer Moses Boyd. Flash it.
This coming Thursday sees the second installment of NEXUS – One World Music, a new experimental series of concerts which take place on the first Thursday of each month at St George’s Bloomsbury. The first of these concerts took place last month on the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr and while the performances by Cleveland Watkiss, Errolyn Wallen, Paul Gladstone Reid, Orphy Robinson and Bonnie Greer celebrated his life and his legacy the music was shadowed by a dark ambience. The ever eloquent Paul Gladstone Reid harnessed the power of the spiritual and transformed Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’ while Errolyn offered us echoes of ‘My Favourite Things’, a spikey salsa and then united with Bonnie Greer on a piece, written for the radical wing of the ENO, that related a challenging encounter on Question Time with the BNP’s Nick Griffin. Cleveland boldly rose to the challenge of vocally interpreting Bonnie’s teenage recollections of that fateful day when Dr. King was killed but it was Orphy Robinson who physically ushered the spirit of the slain civil rights activist into St George’s by playing his final speech through a boombox and improvising on the vibes to rhythm of the the words… to the flow of ideas and the man’s poignant message.
Programmed by Jazz Warriors International This Thursday’s NEXUS performance (2nd May) features a celebration of the birth of composer William Grant Still – the first African American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra. On piano we have the very excellent Robert Mitchell, on flute – the magical arranger of Sacred Music Sacred Spaces – Rowland Sutherland and on percussion, my pandeiro teacher, the brilliant Adriano Adewale.
Tickets: £10 at the door, £8 pre-booked, £6 concession Pre-booked tickets may be reserved by ringing 020 7242 1979 or emailing email@example.com
NEXUS firstname.lastname@example.org / Jazz In The Round – http://thecockpit.org.uk