Wednesday, 8 September 2010


Things have been a bit "quiet" on the old jazz front lately. Didn't buy anything while I was on holiday (though to be fair there was nowhere to shop!). Made up for it a wee bit by a couple of visits to Amazon.
Still, it's given me time to give a bit more listening time to some favourites.
I did however, receive on CD via t'internet while I was off... "Harlem Airshaft" by Alan Barnes; a man who just keeps on delivering really, really, good solid mainstream jazz albums. Nothing too fancy, but always engaging enough to hold your interest.
This is an album by his octet and features a dozen or so "lesser" known Duke Ellington compositions.
There is one track on it simply called "Fife". Could it be, I wondered, that the Duke had some association with "the Kingdom"??
I know that one of Ellington's sax men for many years was Joe Temperly who originates from Fife (though he now lives in the US). So I wondered if it was in some way a nod to him. Though given that the main instrument in this sounds like a piccolo I've come to the conclusion that the Fife part is the flute type instrument.
Still none the wiser about the tunes origins though. The only other mention I can find of it is in a live recording of the Dukes 70th Birthday concert. Very fine piece though, from a very good album. Makes a change to get a "tribute" to Ellington that isn't just the "usual suspects" (Satin Doll, A Train etc.).

Trying to "swat up" on my ECM collection right now as well. Just got tickets to see the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra with Arild Anderson doing a concert to celebrate 40 years of possibly the classiest contemporary music label - bar none. From what I can see on the concert listings the gig is to include music by the likes of Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and Gary Burton. I suppose given that Arild and now Tommy Smith are in fact both "ECM artists" it gives the whole concert a bit of a seal of approval.
Tommy Smith has often been compared to Jan Garbarek (sometimes fairly and sometimes not) but this gig could be a dream come true for him.... "Tonight Mathew, I am going to be.....". Pretty easy for Tommy Smith to sound like Jan Garbarek while he's playing, but it would be even easier to "get into charachter" - I've seen Jan twice now and never heard him utter a single word to the audience.
What is highly unlikely, but I would really love to hear, would be for Tommy Smith and the orchestra to do something from Andy Sheppard's recent ECM album. Unlikely, but given that Arild played bass on that it not impossible.
Tommy and Andy ...sax players with different styles - but I've followed both of them for twenty odd years. It would be interesting.

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