Wednesday, 2 December 2009


The ancient Celts had a term that best summed up how I felt last night. The term? "Ahh ... FECK!!"

A visit to my GP confirmed what I already knew - my right legs "buggered" He just puts it into fancy jargon - something to do with tendons and protective sheaths?!!? So there you go all you runners - if you don't want any nasty little accidents - look after your protective sheaths...

Anyway no "real" exercise for me for a few weeks. Though he did suggest something called "swimming" that I vaguely remember from my school days.

Bottom line? No exercise - no cakes!! No cakes - no joy. No joy - much glumness.

So to try and relieve my glumness I decided to seek out new jazz .... and guess what? I found it.

An excellent site called Boggard's Jazz Tapes wherein someone (I'll assume called Boggard) shares their jazz tapes! Simples.

Now. If anyone were to ask me to name my top ten saxophonists we'd be there all night. No doubt I'd spend about three hours getting my top ten... and then suddenly remember someone like Cannonball Adderly or Steve Wilson. Quite simply, there are so many that I like the real difficulty is whittling it down to ten.

But one man who must be there (and very close to the top) is Jan Garbarek. And "lo it came to pass" that Boggard has shared with the world a two hour concert by Jan and his group from Berlin in 2006.

Well, I don't know who Boggard is but lets track them down, kiss both cheeks and pin a big medal on their chest. Because this is a cracker..

For one thing, it's got Eberhard Weber on bass. A long time collaborator with Garbarek, Weber is sadly missing from the latest "official" live recording after having suffered a stroke that's left him unable to play.

I don't know the provenance of this recording but I suspect it's originally from an FM radio broadcast (might even be DAB) but the quality is crystal clear.

I've been lucky enough to see Garbarek twice but each time he played the same set (almost). More or less exclusively from the album "Visible World" - full of lots of slow brooding seascapes and "theme music" for some as yet un-filmed ancient Nordic epic.

One of the many things that's often said about Garbarek and his music is that he is, like me, a bit "glum". I did read a recent interview however, where he says that is just "lazy stereotyping" - well I'll hold my hands up and admit to that in the past - but to be fair, both times I've seen him he's not exactly skipped or danced about the stage much (didn't even talk).
This gig however, really seems to put the band in a different light and "glum" is not a word that you can use to describe the music. Quite uplifting in lots of places and, like the "official" live recording "Dresden" it harks back to Garbareks earlier catalogue with a few numbers from "Twelve Moons" and "I Took Up The Runes". So it looks like Jan and his group had already started their slightly "retrospective" journey before Webers stroke in 2007. In one way while I don't want to detract from bass player Yuri Daniel's work on Dresden, given the history that Garbarek and Weber have it's a surprise that this concert didn't get chosen as the official release.

Certainly lifted my spirits - bit of cake wouldn't have gone amiss mind.
Jan Garbarek is coming to Scotland for a couple of gigs in January - going to try and get to at least one of them.

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