Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mike Nock Interview: Cadence July 1992

As a youngster just getting into jazz, Mike Nock (b. Sept 27, 1940) was the first New Zealand jazz musician I was aware of who had "made it." As I await the arrival of his latest album (Two-Out - a duo with Roger Manins released on Mike's label FWM Records) I've been listening to his 1978 solo recording Talisman and right now I'm downloading Kindred from Bandcamp. Earlier in the week he was interviewed by Eva Radich on Radio New Zealand's Upbeat program (you can download the audio here). While we are at it, here's an interview with Mike from the July 1992 issue of Cadence Magazine (click on image to open the full interview as a PDF).
More magazine articles can be found here. Happy Birthday Mike!

New Zealand Jazz

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Coltrane on Coltrane - Down Beat September 1960

The preparation of this post was accompanied by Coltrane's "classic quartet" performance of "Out of this World" at the Showboat in Philadelphia in 1963 - someone had posted it to Facebook (via Youtube) and it seemed like the right choice as I got his birthday post together. In this article from the September 29, 1960 issue of Down Beat, John Coltrane (along with Don DeMicheal) speaks of the influence of Lester Young, Johnny Hodges, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie and Earl Bostic; his tenure with Thelonious Monk before returning to Miles Davis (as Miles started working with modality) as well as some of his harmonic concepts. Coltrane mentions he recently purchased a soprano saxophone but that he is not satisfied with his tone just yet - we all know that feeling!
Here's a list of links to previous vintage articles.
Down Beat Magazine September 1960

Coltrane on Coltrane

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Straight Horning: Only Monk - More Monk

Thelonious MonkOver the last few weeks a couple of Soul Note releases from Steve Lacy - Only Monk and More Monk (from 1985 & 1989 respectively) - have been getting plenty of airtime around the apartment. I've been working on a few of Monk's melodies and aside of Thelonious' recordings (including Brilliant Corners, Monk Alone, Monk's Dream, and selected Blue Note tracks) my next point of call were these two solo albums from Lacy (followed by a few others such as We See and Reflections).

Thelonious MonkAnyone interested in Monk's music needs to check out Lacy's truly personal approach to this music. For me, Lacy boils things down to the essentials. Not that his playing is minimalist, but there is a stripped-back quality to Lacy's music that appeals to me. Notes never go to waste as he dives deep into the tune. He never seems in a hurry and the improvisations unfold in surprising ways, yet naturally - not forced. For those not familiar with his own compositions, this may be more evident when he plays Monk tunes (perhaps even more so on these solo recordings).

It's hard to play favourites with these two equally solid albums. If you can only go for one, just pick the album with the tunes you prefer.

I would love to hear Eronel from 1979, which I think is Lacy's first solo album to feature an all-Monk playlist. My fingers are crossed for a re-issue to appear.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cannonball Adderley feature in Down Beat 1959

This feature on Cannonball Adderley (b. Sept 15, 1928) was Barbara Gardner's first column for Down Beat. According to John Gennari's Blowing Hot and Cool she was the first African American woman on a national jazz magazine. Click image to view full article as PDF. More vintage magazine articles can be found here.

Down Beat Magazine

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Sonny Rollins: Down Beat Magazine July 1958

Here's a feature article on Sonny Rollins from the July 10, 1958 issue of Down Beat magazine. Rollins talks of the struggle of juggling the facets of his career - performances, composing, organising bands etc and still finding time to practice regularly (2 hours per day). He mentions that he is writing a concerto for tenor saxophone (whatever happened to that!) and his desire to take a break from the scene (which would eventuate the following year) as well as working with strings and/or a big band (mentioning Gil Evans specially) and ultimately performing unaccompanied saxophone concerts.
Here's a list of links to previous vintage articles.

Friday, September 04, 2015

More Bedside Listening

John Carter & Bobby Bradford Quartet: Flight for Four (Flying Dutchman) This album has been sitting on my "to listen to" pile and I finally got around to it. Mark Weber put me onto this quartet and I'm glad he did (Mark recently posted on John Carter here).

Sal Mosca: The Talk of the Town - Live at the Bimhaus (Sunnyside) This 2CD set of live solo piano from 1992 released earlier this year is an absolute gem. Wonderfully recorded, the album has a very intimate feel - it's almost as if you are a fly-on-the-wall in Sal's studio. Be on the lookout for more Mosca - I understand a box set is due out towards the end of the year. Hopefully these releases will bring more attention to a very underrated pianist.

Dizzy Gillespie: Perceptions (Verve) Earlier in the year I was checking out recordings associated with the Third Stream and I came across Perceptions. The music was written by J.J Johnson and Gunther Schuller conducts a brass ensemble, harps and rhythm section as they back Gillespie. The suite showcases the lyrical side of Dizzy's playing that many don't associate with him (myself included). I finally found a copy in August (at the Jazz Record Mart) and over the past month it has been getting some airtime.

Sonny Rollins: Rollins Meets Hawk! (RCA) I hadn't listened to this album for years and I have to say I've really enjoyed getting back into it. I first heard this album back in '99 when Norman Meehan played it to our jazz history class, not really for Sonny & Hawk, but for Paul Bley (check out Norm's book with Bley - Time Will Tell). Bley is outstanding and although I know people who don't really dig Rollins' here, I'm enjoying it. A bunch of live Rollins quartet recordings with Don Cherry are now available and I'm looking forward to checking them out (eventually!).

Thelonious Monk: Brillant Corners (Riverside) I have been learning a few of Monk's melodies and this was one of the recordings I listened to while working on "Pannonica." This may well be my favourite Monk album. Another album I hadn't listened to for ages and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Ernie Henry's contribution on alto.