Blog


McCoy Tyner “Enlightenment” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

When McCoy Tyner recorded Enlightenment” at the Montreux Jazz Festival on Saturday, 7th July 1973, it preserved on disc what he would later refer to was “One of my best performances anywhere.” It was without a doubt a memorable performance, producer Orrin Keepnews noting that, “The artist recognised this, and so did the musicians on […]

Read More

Michael Brecker “Michael Brecker” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

  When he recorded Michael Brecker in 1987, it was unusual that such a major talent in jazz should have eluded making an album under his own name until he was 38 years of age, especially since he was already widely recognised as the most influential saxophonist since John Coltrane. The preeminent studio saxophonist of […]

Read More

David Murray “Ming’s Samba” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

By the time saxophonist David Murray made his major record label debut with Ming’s Samba in 1989, he had already released thirty-eight albums for small independent labels. Although he was still only 34,  a red label stuck to front sleeve proclaimed ‘Five New Pieces From Jazz Legend David Murray!’  At the time it didn’t seem a […]

Read More

Lee Ritenour “Stolen Moments” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

Fusion-meister Lee Ritenour creating a forgotten jazz classic? Well, Stolen Moments is exactly that. On it he draws on the formative jazz influences of his  teenage years when his father took him to see Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Kenny Burrell at the Lighthouse on Hermosa Beach Pier and Freddie Hubbard, George Benson and many others […]

Read More

Why We Celebrated Ella’s 100th Birthday Anniversary in April 2017

‘Stuart Nicholson’s Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz…included so much documented factual material…that the book currently stands as the most authoritative biography about her. Nicholson’s book is, for the most part, used as a criterion for accuracy and virtually everything written about Ella before it appeared must be revised.’ LESLIE GOURSE, THE ELLA FITZGERALD […]

Read More

Loose Tubes “Delightful Precipice” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

It was about halfway through 1984, no-one can seem to remember the precise date, when a rehearsal band of 20 or so young, like-minded British jazz musicians under the direction of educator Graham Collier declared independence from their mentor and went their own way. Calling themselves Loose Tubes and preferring a collective identity with no […]

Read More

Arthur Blythe, Cutting-Edge Saxophonist, Dies at 76

Arthur Blythe, one of the most admired alto saxophonists on the 1970s and 1980s, died on Monday 27th March 2017 at the age of 76 through complications arising from Parkinson’s disease. The father of three had been fighting the illness since 2005 and several benefits had been held for him in his home town of […]

Read More

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band “My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band was the first of the post-traditional New Orleans brass marching bands to reach an international audience in the early 1980s. Key to their early success was My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now,  their galvanising debut album from 1984. What took everyone by surprise was the fresh, new spin they gave to […]

Read More

Larry Coryell, Jazz-Rock Pioneer Dies at 73

After playing two shows on the 17th and 18th February at New York’s Iridium jazz club, guitarist Larry Coryell died peacefully in his hotel room on Sunday 19th February. Among the first to experiment with combining the rhythms and electronic tone colours of rock with jazz improvisation in bands such as the Free Spirits, he joined Gary Burton’s […]

Read More

Gil Evans “The British Orchestra” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

In March 1983, Gil Evans embarked on a short tour of the UK. It would mark the first time he had played his music with an orchestra other than his own, a British band assembled at his request by saxophonist John Surman with a little help from Don Weller.  The tour opened at The Roundhouse […]

Read More

Steps Ahead  “Steps Ahead” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

By 1983 Steps Ahead — a cooperative quintet with Mike Mainieri on vibes, Michael Brecker on tenor sax, Eliane Elias on piano, Eddie Gomez bass and Peter Erskine on drums — had developed a collective identity quite different to any group in jazz. That year, their first U.S.  album was released in the States  (they had […]

Read More

New Billie Holiday Bio-Pic Underway

Plans are now well advanced for a major U.S. bio-pic of Billie Holiday based on Stuart Nicholson’s biography of the legendary singer.   It’s been a long time in the planning stages, but it now looks likely that a major U.S. motion picture  on the life and times of Billie Holiday based on Stuart Nicholson’s biography of the […]

Read More

Betty Carter “The Audience With Betty Carter” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

Was Betty Carter the greatest jazz singer of them all? After all, one of the most sophisticated jazz vocalists of them all, Carmen McRae, once said, ‘There’s really only one jazz singer  — only one. Betty Carter.’  You only have to hear The Audience With Betty Carter once to see what she means. To call it […]

Read More

Charlie Haden “The Ballad of the Fallen” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

Charlie Haden’s 1983 album The Ballad of the Fallen was described by The Independent newspaper as “One of the greatest jazz albums ever.”  Yet it’s success owes a lot to the arrangements of Carla Bley, who was also on hand for Haden’s  Liberation Music Orchestra album from 1970. Charle Haden and the Liberation Music Orchestra in the 1980s: (l-r) […]

Read More

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers “Keystone 3” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

Drum legend Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers made any number of albums after his career defining period as a Blue Note recording artist in the 1950s and early 1960s. But perhaps the most important album of all his subsequent output, and certainly the most historically significant, was Keystone 3, recorded live at San Francisco’s […]

Read More

Quest “Midpoint” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

In 1985, Downbeat magazine described Quest as a “Must for anyone interested in the possibilities and beauties of small group improvisation.”  With Dave Liebman on soprano saxophone, Richie Beirach on piano, Ron McClure on bass and Billy Hart on drums, Quest had evolved from Liebman’s short lived Lookout Farm band that debuted at the Village Vanguard jazz club […]

Read More

Pat Metheny Group “The Way Up” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

Was The Way Up  the Pat Metheny Group’s parting shot? Released in 2005, we’ve heard nothing on record from them since. If it was their last album, then they certainly left on a creative high. In scale, ambition and execution, it remains Metheny’s magnum opus — or greatest work. In many ways it was a […]

Read More

Miles Davis “Legendary Concerts” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

When Miles Davis died on 28 September 1991 he still had a long career ahead of him as a cultural icon. Yet while his obituaries were effusive in their praise about a career that began as a member of the Charlie Parker Quintet back in the 1940s, they grew noticeably vague about his final period […]

Read More

Kenny Baron Trio “Live At Bradley’s II: The Perfect Set” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

When pianist Kenny Barron recorded this album with Ray Drummond on bass and Ben Riley on drums in April 1996, the term “underrated” was often used to describe him. Not any more. The recipient of a Jazz Master Award from the National Endowment of the Arts in 2010, he consistently wins jazz critics and readers […]

Read More

Last Exit  “The Noise of Trouble” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

Formed in 1986 by bassist, producer and conceptualist Bill Laswell, Last Exit was a free jazz supergroup that took the Freedom Principal to undreamt of highs. Taking their name from the Hubert Selby novel Last Exit to Brooklyn, Laswell’s pet concept at the time was “collision music,” bringing together strong musical personalities and letting the sparks fly.  […]

Read More

George Adams Don Pullen Quartet “All That Funk” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

Recorded live in 1979 at CIAK in Milan, All That Funk  is the first of a two of albums the George Adams Don Pullen Quartet recorded for the Italian Palcoscenico label — the second volume was called More Funk. The band had been formed earlier in 1979 and were in their first flush of creativity […]

Read More

Jack DeJohnette’s “Album Album” — Forgotten Jazz Classics

In June 1984, Jack DeJohnette produced and recorded   Album Album at New York’s Power Station for the ECM label. It was his fourth, and final, Special Edition recording for the label. It was also one of his finest. Jack DeJohnette’s Special Edition 1985 In the summer 1985, he toured his Album Album band around the European […]

Read More

Thomas Chapin — Jazz Legend

On 9 May 2016, Emmy award-winning filmmaker Stephanie J. Castillo’s music documentary Thomas Chapin, Night Bird Song: The Incandescent Life of a Jazz Great was screened at the Nice International Film Festival in France. It’s a jazz documentary that’s creating waves, just recently it was selected for a screening at the Monterey Jazz Festival on 18th September where […]

Read More

How BBC Radio 2 Lost the Plot

Most of us love the BBC. But during the last few years I wonder if we love the “idea” of the BBC more than we do the institution itself. Certainly most of us share the view that it’s vital that we have a publicly funded broadcaster, protected by an annual Licence Fee of £147.50, producing […]

Read More

Interviews

The Interviews section currently includes five classic interviews and more will be added in the coming weeks and months.  The first is with Dave Brubeck and includes insights into his distinguished jazz career as well as his lesser known work as a composer of religious works for symphony orchestra and voices. The second is with pianist Keith Jarrett that begins with […]

Read More