Brit Jazz Explosion vinyl finally unveiled
Reasons to be cheerful come with the long-awaited news that Decca Records has announced the start of a major high-end vinyl reissue series of ground-breaking British jazz from 1965-1972 covering rare and highly collectible titles first released on the EMI/Lansdowne, Decca, Deram, Argo and Fontana labels. Increasingly recognised worldwide as a hugely creative time in modern and progressive Brit-jazz, the series has been compiled by jazz historian/producer Tony Higgins, who compiled the Impressed re-pressed series of Brit jazz titles for Universal in 2004. The British Jazz Explosion will launch on 16 July with a 2LP, 2CD and download compilation, Journeys in Modern Jazz: Britain (1965-1972), which will feature tracks by Kenny Wheeler and the John Dankworth Orchestra, Don Rendell Quintet, Colin Bates Trio, John Surman and John Warren, Michael Garrick Septet, Mike Westbrook Concert Big Band, Stan Tracey, Harry Beckett, Neil Ardley, The New Jazz Orchestra, Alan Skidmore Qnt, Dick Morrisey Quartet, Mike Taylor Qt and Michael Gibbs with tracks from impossible to find original titles, many of which have sold on eBay and Discogs for £500 to £1,000+. None of the tracks crossover with the earlier Impressed repressed compilations.
Journeys In Modern Jazz kicks off the Originals Re-Cut series of reissues on 16 July with Don Rendell Quintet Space Walk, first released in 1972 and here with the tracks named in the correct sequence for the first time; Kenny Wheeler & the John Dankworth Orchestra Windmill Tilter – The Story of Don Quixote (1969) is out on 13 August and the New Jazz Orchestra Le Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe (1969) releases on 10 September. All titles in the series have been transferred and remastered from the original tapes using an allanalogue signal path by vinyl specialists Gearbox Records and are pressed on 180gram vinyl with replica flip-back sleeves, laminated front covers and additional new sleeve notes on 12” x 12” printed inserts. All releases are also available as hi-res downloads.
Lockheart and Cohen to livestream for the return of the RAM jazz festival The Royal Academy of Music’s Jazz Festival will now take place from 5 to 10 July as a livestreamed series of concerts. There is one notable exception among the pre-recorded gigs, with leading British saxophonist Mark Lockheart (pictured) performing a special collaboration with the Royal Academy Big Band to celebrate his 60th birthday, which will be broadcast live from the Susie Sainsbury Theatre, at the Academy at 8pm on 7 July. Previous plans to include Gwilym Simcock (who’s based in Germany) and Jim Hart (resident in France) have been changed due to ongoing travel restrictions, with rising star alto saxophonist Rachel Cohen stepping in to lead RAM students in place of Hart. For all the delays and changes, the week remains packed with exciting musical prospects and features a whole host of top names presenting unique arrangements of their music as played by the hugely talented RAM students. All concerts will be livestreamed in partnership with Jazzwise via the magazine’s Facebook page – visit www.jazzwise.com for more info. Dates are Soweto Kinch 6pm (Mon 5 July); Kit Downes (6pm 6 Jul); Rachael Cohen (6pm 7 Jul); Mark Lockheart with the RAM Big Band (8pm, 7 Jul); Dave Okumu (6pm 8 Jul); Zoe Rahman (6pm 9 Jul) and Josephine Davies (6pm 10 Jul). For further details visit www.ram.ac.uk
I had a very strange experience in late May… I went to a gig at Ronnie Scott’s. This once common occurrence was all very surreal, as I made my way through a near-deserted Soho on a rainy Monday night, the only signs of life were the odd lone drinker outside a bar or a small throng of Hari Krishnas in full voice despite the appalling unseasonal weather. Inside Ronnie’s, the club’s Covid-secure measures were reassuringly in place, with an exceptionally thorough amount of Perspex shielding between tables. Perched at the bar and looking around there was a giddy sense of disbelief that I was actually sitting inside a music venue with other people… and, having gone alone I turned round to see Jazzwise writer and FT jazz correspondent Mike Hobart arriving too – a pleasant and chance meeting not experienced in over a year. Likewise, Nikki Yeoh’s set with Mike Mondesir and Martin France held many unexpected pleasures too – not least her rousing vocal version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Hurricane’ that she sang with a suitable level of Dylan-esque venom, its lyrics as sadly relevant today as they were in 1976. Yeoh and Dylan share a birthday (Dylan’s 80th on this occasion), which made it all the more meaningful. The point of all this? Well, life goes on and you can’t keep jazz or the people who play it down for long. Mike Flynn, Editor, Jazzwise
A ray of hope: Ronnie Scott’s reopens for seven-days-a-week in-person gigs and ticketed Saturday night livestreams
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club reopened to the public from 20 May presenting in-person gigs seven days a week with the addition of ticketed livestreamed Saturday night broadcasts via DICE.FM, which will make these performances available to a global audience.
Since the start of the year, tens of thousands of viewers have tuned into the venue’s social media channels for its thrice-weekly ‘Lockdown Sessions’. Ronnie’s is among several established venues that have proven there’s a sizable online audience for live performances. The new pay-per-view service will be for Saturday night gigs with initial livestreams including Afrobeat legends Osibisa (29 May), Ian Shaw: When Bowie Met Joni (5 June) and Mica Paris: Gospel (11 June) with pay-per-view tickets priced at £11.30 each.
Further in-person highlights for July include Robben Ford/Bill Evans - Blues, Miles And Beyond (1-2 Jul), FORQ: Chris McQueen,
Henry Hey, Kevin Scott, Jason ‘JT’ Thomas (5 Jul), Samara Joy (6 Jul), The Ronnie Scott’s All-Stars with the Swinging Sisters...Natalie Williams (pictured right) and Emma Smith (7-8 Jul), The James Taylor Quartet (JTQ) with Nick Smart Horns and Yvonne Yanney (12-14 Jul), PB Underground (1516 Jul), Liane Carroll (17-18 Jul), James Pearson presents ‘A Portrait of Dudley Moore - More Moore!’ (21-22 Jul), Phil Meadows - Beware of the Bear (26 Jul) and Alex Garnett’s London Supersax Project (30 Jul). Full listings available at www.ronniescotts.co.uk
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