Sunday, December 28, 2008

Alice Russell - Pot of Gold (2008)


New album from Alice Russell, one of UK's hottest singers!! She's recorded with the likes of Massive Attack, Mr. Scruff, The Nextmen and Quantic and performed live with The Roots and Quantic Soul Orchestra. Produced by long time collaborator, co-writer and band mate TM Juke, Pot of Gold mixes elements of classic Soul, Jazz, Funk, Rock and Blues into an irresistible concoction that will appeal to her many existing fans while reaching out to new audiences looking for the next "distinctive voice" on the music scene!! Couldn´t wait for her return!!

Text from Do Velho Ao Novo blog

Official Site

My Space Page

TwistedJazz fav did it again! High ranked in our best of 2008 list...of course!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Bamboos: Deep Funk Masters


The Bamboos are Australia's masters of Deep Funk and Super-Heavy Soul.
Formed in 2001 and released the 7" single 'Eel Oil/Blackfoot', earning them international acclaim from the likes of Mr Scruff, Patrick Forge and Jazzanova. Their next release 'Tighten Up/Voodoo Doll' was signed by Kenny Dope (Masters At Work) and Keb Darge (Legendary Deep Funk) for their U.S-based imprint Kay-Dee Records.
Making their home at U.K's Tru Thoughts records in 2005, The Bamboos debut album ‘Step it Up’ was released jointly by Tru Thoughts and Ubiquity Records (US) in 2006. The second Bamboos long-player "Rawville' was released in 2007 and was described by IDJ Magazine (U.K) as " ...arguably the finest Funk album of the modern era"
In 2006 and 2007 The Bamboos toured Europe and the U.K, bringing their unmistakable sound to venues including The Jazz Café in London and countries including Germany, Spain, Ireland, Italy and Belgium. The Bamboos live shows have evolved into non-stop mixtape-style throw-downs that draw the links between Hip Hop, Soul, Funk and old-school Breaks.
The Bamboos have performed as a backing band for international artists including: Eddie Bo (US), Joe Bataan (US), Eddie Floyd (US), Alice Russell & The Quantic Soul Orchestra (UK)

Official Site

The Bamboos @ MySpace

King of the Rodeo video (feat. Megan Washington)

Menahan Street Band -Make The Road By Walking (2008)

* BEST RECORD of 2008 for TWISTED JAZZ *

The Menahan Street Band is a collaboration of musicians from Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings (Dave Guy, Homer Steinweiss, Fernando Velez, Bosco Mann), El Michels Affair (Leon Michels, Toby Pazner), Antibalas (Nick Movshon, Aaron Johnson) and the Budos Band (Mike Deller, Daniel Fodder), brought together by musician/producer Thomas Brenneck (Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Budos Band, Amy Winehouse) to record hits in the bedroom of his Menahan St. apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn. With influences reaching beyond the funk/soul/afrobeat architecture of their other projects into the more ethereal realms of Curtis Mayfield and Mulatu Astatke, the Menahan Street Band creates a unique new instrumental soul sound that is as raw as it is lush. Their debut album, Make the Road by Walking will be released on Dunham Records, Brenneck’s new imprint of Daptone Records, a joint venture devoted to bringing the Menahan Street sound from Brenneck’s bedroom out into the world. The album is marked by eerily quirky arrangements, featuring vibes, horns, piano, organ, percussion and even a strange bling sound that Brenneck creates by tuning and plucking the strings of his guitar on the wrong side of the bridge. However, it is not the textures themselves that make the new sound of Menahan Street so exciting, but rather the way the sounds are incorporated into the heavy rhythms and bold melodies of the compositions.

The title of the album was inspired both by the eponymous community center below Brenneck’s apartment and the natural rhythm that has continued to move this project forward. Shortly after its release as Dunham’s debut 45rpm single, the song “Make the Road by Walking” was sampled by fellow Brooklynite Jay-Z for his smash hit from American Gangster, “Roc Boys (and the Winner is…)” (later declared by Rolling Stone to be the No. 1 single of 2007).

Make the Road by Walking is a soulful exploration by a talented young group of musicians into the possibilities of instrumental music; an original, personal, and uncompromised creation that embodies the sound of a select group of musicians in one distinct place, at one particular moment in time. “This album is kind of a window into our world on Menahan Street,” says Brenneck. “In a way, we’re simply the street’s unofficial house band.”

The song "Make the Road by Walking" is named after a membership-based organization named "Make the Road by Walking" which is located around the corner from Menahan Street (on Grove Street) which promotes social and economic justice for community, through organizing, lawyering and numerous forms of advocacy

Text from Wikipedia

Menahan Street Band @ Dunham Records

MSB @ LAST FM


MSB perform Make the road by walking live in Central Park @ Summer Stage 08


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quasimode - Sounds of Peace (2008)


Japan's finest and TwistedJazz favourites return with another smash in 2008

A deeper sound than usual for Quasimode -- and that's saying a lot, given their previous albums! There's a fullness here that's really amazing -- a further extension of their already righteous approach to jazzy grooves, into territory that's even more mindblowing, soul-searching, and perfectly played! As before, there's lots of upbeat acoustic rhythms on the set -- club jazz, but not of the fake variety -- topped with searing horn work that includes guest performances from members of Sleep Walker, Soil & Pimp, and Jazz Collective! But almost even better are the few vocal cuts -- featuring either Dwight Trible or Carmen Lundy -- both singers we totally love from a classic jazz perspective, sounding even more wonderful here in the company of Quasimode. The whole thing's great -- an album we'd stack proudly next to our older favorites on Impulse or Strata East -- and titles include "Take The New Frontiers", "Finger Tip", "Young Black Horse", "One Possibility", "Rumble In The Jungle", "Midnight Flower", and "Sound Of Peace". © 1996-2008, Dusty Groove America, Inc.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lonnie Liston Smith - Expansions (1974)


When Lonnie Liston Smith left the Miles Davis band in 1974 for a solo career, he was, like so many of his fellow alumni, embarking on a musical odyssey. For a committed fusioneer, he had no idea at the time that he was about to enter an abyss that it would take him the better part of two decades to return from. Looking back upon his catalog from the period, this is the only record that stands out — not only from his own work, but also from every sense of the word: It is fully a jazz album, and a completely funky soul-jazz disc as well. Of the seven compositions here, six are by Smith, and the lone cover is of the Horace Silver classic, "Peace." The lineup includes bassist Cecil McBee, soprano saxophonist David Hubbard, tenor saxophonist Donald Smith (who doubles on flute), drummer Art Gore, and percussionists Lawrence Killian, Michael Carvin, and Leopoldo. Smith plays both piano and electric keyboards and keeps his compositions on the jazzy side — breezy, open, and full of groove playing that occasionally falls over to the funk side of the fence. It's obvious, on this album at least, that Smith was not completely comfortable with Miles' reliance on hard rock in his own mix. Summery and loose in feel, airy and free with its in-the-cut beats and stellar piano fills, Expansions prefigures a number of the "smooth jazz" greats here, without the studio slickness and turgid lack of imagination.

Lonnie's Official Page


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lizzy Parks - Raise the Roof (2008)


"A work of art – with its dense, panoramic and majestic soundscape”
Raise The Roof, Lizzy Parks’ debut album on Tru Thoughts, is a euphoric, original and unforgettable introduction to one of the most talented and distinctive singers of the moment. Deftly produced by Ben ‘Nostalgia 77’ Lamdin and with rich, dramatic orchestration from Riaan Vosloo of the acclaimed Nostalgia 77 Octet, ‘Raise The Roof’ embodies Lizzy’s fresh and modern personal twist on the singer-songwriter tradition, encompassing elements of various styles from retro jazz and boogie soul to ambient experimental music...
(Text from Blues & Soul mag)
Lizzy Parks Official Page

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Realise / PART-TIME HEROES

Part Time Heroes - Meanwhile (2008)


The first full album from Part Time Heroes -- a group who've done some remixes and singles over the past few years, but who really step forward strongly with this set! There's a depth here we never would have guessed from their clever cuts before -- a fuller, richer sound that draws from jazzy roots, but also inflects them with some soundtrack-like influences too -- putting things together in a careful blend of acoustic instrumentation and electric elements -- often with a warm feel that's strongly soulful. Keyboards really shine on the set -- there's a lot of Rhodes here -- but there's also work on trumpet, flute, and tenor that stands out too -- not used in straight jazz ways, but to inflect some organic colors on the tunes. Vocals are by Laura Vane, Jono McCleery, Liane Carroll, and Bridgette Amofah -- but a few of the tracks are instrumental too. Titles include "Stop Fade Blur", "Realise", "Shadowlands", "Sun Will Shine", "Method", "What's The Noise/What It Could Be", "In My Soul", and "Angels Fly".
Part Time Heroes @ MySpace
Part Time Heroes @ Last.fm
special thanks & deep respect to Jazzin blog

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jazzanova - Of All The Things New (Verve, 2008)


Mentored by Giles Peterson, the six member Berlin-based DJ collective Jazzanova has created a compelling fusion of musical genres on their 2008 studio album, Of All The Things. Jazzanova has built a strong and loyal following among DJs, musicians, and music fans around the globe. They have leant their talents to a diverse roster of artists including Lenny Kravitz, Common, Azymuth, and Calexico. Jazzanova set out to compose an album that is interconnected, composing each track, recording live vocals and instrumentals, selecting and creating samples from tracks already created for this album. Featured vocalists include Leon Ware, Dwele, Phonte, Paul Randolph, Ben Westbeech, Jose James, and more. Jazzanova is: Alexander Barck, Claas Brieler, Jurgen von Knoblauch, Roskow Kretschmann, Stefan Leisering, and Axel Reinemer.
Probably the release of the year...

(text from the defuct blog ExtraMusicNew)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bird - Double Chance (2003)


Bird is one of Japan’s biggest names in jazz. Her fusion of jazz, R&B, bossa nova, swing, and house has won her a fanbase all her own. She began doing folk-type music in 2002, but after almost a year of hiatus, her single Warabigami was released. This time bird went for a reggae feel. With her latest single Sparkles, she has gone back to her jazz roots but has mixed in disco as well.In July 1999, her debut album was released and sold 700,000 copies. bird was given the Japan Gold Record for newcomers. Months later in October, her first national concert bird tour 1999 live! was sold out.Double Chance is Bird's fourth album released on October 8th, 2003. It was produced by Takao Tajima and features songs by Earl Cooper, Jesse Harris, Ivan Lins, and Daisuke Kawaguchi. Inside the case is a multi-colored color pencil of which you can color the booklet with. The cover of Double Chance is an outline of bird's 16th single Chance, also featured on the album.
(as mentioned at the excellent AcidJazzy blog)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Nicola Conte - Rituals (2008)


"Rituals" decant the artist's love for jazz overseas, witnessed by the presence of large American guest list including Greg Osby, Michael Pinto and crooner Jose 'James, and for the European attended by Till Bronner, Timo Lassy and Teppo Makkinen.As with the previous year, this new disc and 'the fruit of a work that looks with admiration to the jazz of the sixties, but confirms once again the successful meeting between tradition and modernity' musical, which has always characterized the production of Nicola Conte , One of the best Italian jazz artists' estimated abroad.To compose the group of instrumentalists who study in order Nicola Conte are Fabrizio Bosso, Gianluca Petrella, Gaetano Partipilo, Daniele Scannapieco, Lorenzo Tucci, Pietro Ciancaglini, Pietro Lussu, Sandro and Dario Deidda, Mario Corvina and John Amato. It is also important to notice the presence of female voices like Kim Sanders, Chiara Civello and Alice Ricciardi. "Rituals" also marks a major step in the growth of artistic Nicola Conte, who also signed the text on the disc, drawing a few literary references to him dear, such as in "Like Leaves In The Wind", first single extract from 'album, inspired by some poems by Dylan Thomas. An complete disc, "Rituals", expressing in music the artist's many passions Bari, as the auteur cinema, soundtracks, the romantic and existentialist literature, Brazil and jazz, drawing a profile of great aesthetic taste and artistic, and everything Italian.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Return of the Red Snapper


You probably know it already but doesn't hurt repeating it. The magnificent RED SNAPPER R BACK and Twisted Jazz is really excited...Here 's what our friend Hefiorel has to say about it in his great blog of eclectic music:


" Red Snapper return from the outer reaches to bring you six brand new tracks and once again they are a rocking 3 piece with firing saxophone. And once again it’s impossible to define the sound they make…afro jazz, krautrock, rockabilly, hip hop and funk all bubble in their dub melting pot. The album was recorded live in concert with Darius Kedros on mixing /dub duty and live in the studio with Tim Holmes of Death In Vegas. New sax (and clarinet) man Tom Challenger brings back the edge to make these recordings truly sizzle. Anyone who has caught them live will know what a unique and powerful live band they are. A Pale Blue Dot is both document and mission statement. The album also features radical new re-interpretations of 2 of the tracks, one apiece by Kelpe and Subway, stretching the future jazz vibe riiiiight out. So there you have it an album that feels so good, so right, so now. "

Friday, July 18, 2008

Kira Neris - Behind Closed Doors (2007)

Based in Strasbourg, the man behind the Kira Neris project is a truly unique individual. Motivated by an absolute passion and desire for all things radio and music related from the age of 11, it was inevitable that one day he would produce his own creative masterpiece full of the influences of his formative years. Having explored most genres and styles, from a brief affair with Rock to a longer relationship with House and Dance music, Jazz and Classic Groove are now his regular partners in producing what is without doubt original and captivating music.

“Incredible new jazz music” Gilles Peterson

Kira Neris @ LastFm

Kira Neris @ MySpace

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lambchop - Up With People (Zero 7 Remix 2000)

Esbjörn Svensson Trio

Steve Wynn

WARNING: This man has played virtually EVERYTHING except jazz. Punk, post punk, garage, folk, high nrg rock'n roll, indie, lo-fi, psychedelia, cow punk, country punk is all in his six string. So why in Twisted Jazz? Cause we love the man and we see he gets the attention he deserves. And because another man and versatile editor asked us to...

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Steve Wynn, as founder of the Dream Syndicate, almost single-handedly tuned the ears of college age rock fans in the early '80s to the two prior decades of guitar-drenched rock that inspired him. After graduating from the University of California at Davis and following a stint with his requisite new wave band of that era, Suspects, Wynn took a cross-country trip in search of Alex Chilton, one of his spiritual musical mentors and a figure sorely missed on the scene since his days with power pop legends Big Star. Interestingly, by the time Wynn found him and returned to California, the underground rock scene was in the middle of a full-on guitar rock revival, thanks in part to fellow Chilton devotees R.E.M. and the Replacements; Wynn took it as his cue to embrace the feedback-flooded sounds of the Velvet Underground. Borrowing his name from the VU's heritage, he called his new band, Dream Syndicate.

Heralded as leaders of the paisley underground (the neo-'60s scene out of Los Angeles that included the Bangles, Green on Red, and the Rain Parade), Dream Syndicate were by far the most outside band in the bunch, challenging audiences to feedback fests and endless jams. After four albums on four labels and a change in direction (less Lou Reed, more Neil Young), the Syndicate called it quits and Wynn embarked on a solo career. For Kerosene Man (Rhino, 1990) and Dazzling Display (Rhino 1991), Wynn relied on his steady songwriting, unique vocal style, and a bunch of friends (including Peter Buck of R.E.M.) for the recordings. Fluorescent (Mute, 1994) was a subdued, semi-folk record, but his side project Gutterball (including Bryan Harvey and Johnny Hott of House of Freaks and Bob Rupe of the Silos) was a loose and drunken rock & roll ramble. The solo work kept on coming: Melting in the Dark (1996), Sweetness & Light (1997) and My Midnight (1999), but Wynn was ultimately destined to lead a band again and with the Miracle 3 he released the double-disc set Here Come the Miracles (2001), Static Transmission (2003) and the post-millennium panic-inspired ...Tick...Tick...Tick (2005). What I Did After My Band Broke Up is a 17-track document of just what the title promised, plus a bonus disc of Wynn performing some of his favorite songs on piano.

(Denise Sullivan - AMG)

Official site

MySpace Wynn

Wynn @ Last.Fm

DESERT ISLAND WYNNDISC - HERE COMES THE MIRACLES (2001)

NEW ALBUM OUT - CROSSING DRAGON BRIDGE


Monday, July 7, 2008

Lizz Wright

Since her 2002 breakthrough performance at a Los Angeles Billie Holiday tribute, Lizz Wright has been regarded as an important young talent in contemporary jazz. Wright inked a deal with seminal jazz label Verve soon after the Holiday performance. She released her debut album, Salt, in 2003, followed by Dreaming Wide Awake two years later. Her husky contralto voice and penchant for mixing jazz standards with pop, gospel, and soul numbers have earned her comparisons to such legends as Abbey Lincoln and Nina Simone, to young neo-soul singers like Jill Scott and Angie Stone, and to crossover artists like Norah Jones and Cassandra Wilson.

By Kristin Palm @ MusicGuide - Full bio here

Official Site

Liz Wright @ Last.Fm

Liz Wright page @ Verve


Liz Wright @ MySpace


THE NEW LIZ WRIGHT ALBUM "THE ORCHARD" IS OUT NOW ON VERVE


Liz Wright will be performing live in Greece:
Tuesday 25 July - Kipotheatro Papagou, Athens

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Classics: Mark Murphy - Stolen Moments (1978)

Mark Murphy often seemed to be the only true jazz singer of his generation. A young, hip post-bop vocalist, Murphy spent most of his career sticking to the standards -- and often presented radically reworked versions of those standards while many submitted to the lure of the lounge singer -- during the artistically fallow period of the 1970s and '80s. Marketed as a teen idol by Capitol during the mid-'50s, Murphy deserted the stolid world of commercial pop for a series of exciting dates on independent labels that featured the singer investigating his wide interests: Jack Kerouac, Brazilian music, songbook recordings, vocalese, and hard bop, among others.
One of singer Mark Murphy's most famous records, this album finds him at the peak of his powers. This version of the title cut is considered a classic, and other high points of this gem include Murphy's interpretations of "Farmer's Market," Jobim's "Waters of March" and "Like a Lover." Joined by three horns (including altoist Richie Cole) and a fine San Francisco-based rhythm section led by pianist Smith Dobson, Mark Murphy consistently comes up with creative ideas. Essential music.
(by John Bush and Scott Yannow- AMG)

Mark Murphy page @ AMG

Mark Murphy @ MySpace


Mark Murphy @ Last.Fm

Mark Murphy will be performing live @ ArtCafe in Corfu, Greece on 23rd July 2008


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Elizabeth Shepherd Trio - Start To Move (2007)

Juno Award Nominated "Vocal Jazz Album of the Year" 2007

Voted #3
Jazz Album of the Year 2006 on Gilles Peterson's Worldwide
BBC Radio 1 London

Imagine a cold winter night in Toronto, walking past a small jazz club, when you catch through the folds of your scarf the warm deep grooves of a jazz trio playing to an intimate crowd. Welcome to the scene a fresh new sound from singer/songwriter Elizabeth Shepherd.
There are times when something new comes along at once familiar and yet completely original. The album ‘Start to Move’ from the Elizabeth Shepherd Trio is just that. But what’s more she has added her own unique blend of jazz-funk, soul, blues, and samba to the fundamentals of Jazz – improvising a deep driving bass from Scott Kemp, the swinging beat of the drum from Colin Kingsmore, and Elizabeth’s playful piano and captivating voice to tie it all together. Recorded over the winter of 2005/2006, you can feel yourself with them, locked away in a small studio, protected from the cold winter night, pushing through track after track for that deep warm sound.

Elizabeth Shepherd Trio @ DoRightMusic records

Elizabeth Shepherd Trio @ MySpace

Official Site

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Five Corners Quintet - Chasin' The Jazz Gone By (2005)

The Five Corners Quintet is a Helsinki-based postmodern jazz outfit influenced by early sixties straight ahead and latin jazz. Led by producer Tuomas Kallio the Five Corners Quintet is a new extension of the highly acclaimed Nuspirit Helsinki collective.

The two innovators behind Five Corners Quintet, composer, producer and arranger Tuomas Kallio and the band's benevolent svengali and record label manager Antti Eerikäinen initially were simply set out to release a few vinyl singles of stylish jazz music tailored for the dance floor. As the first three vinyl single releases received a huge response among the press and international taste makers and at the same were all sold out, The Five Corners Quintet project slowly evolved into an established and more serious phase. This meant two things: setting up a live band and a CD-album project.
The debut album Chasin' The Jazz Gone By came out in September 2005, spent 11 weeks in the Finnish album TOP-40 chart and has been released in Europe (SonyBMG and Ricky-Tick Records/Timewarp), USA (Milan Entertainment/WEA) and Japan (Columbia International). The album and the vinyl singles preceding it have already sold more than 40.000 copies in total. Not bad for a jazz recording in 2005.
In musical terms the goal of TFCQ is to set an example of how dance floor friendly contemporary production can fruitfully meet the musical craftsmanship of the past, creating music that sounds as hip as the classic jazz records but is at the same time structurally polished and easily accessible music of today. Not housey nu-jazz, but jazz in the classic modernist spirit.

The Official Five Corners Quintet page

Five Corners @ MySpace

Five Corners @ Last.fm

Jazzanova - Mwela, Mwela (Here I am)

German nu jazz collective Jazzanova redefined the 'nu jazz movement' with the excellent 2002 lp 'In Between'. In 'Mwela, Mwela' they recruit fellow London jazzheads Valerie Etienne and Rob Gallagher (both in Galliano and 2 Banks of 4) with extraodinairy results...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bird (Clint Eastwood, 1988)

"Do you want a husband or a musician?" a mental-hospital official asks Charlie Parker's common-law wife, Chan, as they debate whether the fragile jazzman should get shock treatment. "They do not separate!" she insists. In this sensitive, sophisticated labor of love directed by Clint Eastwood--yes, Clint Eastwood--all the tangled wires that fired Parker's creativity get a careful examination. Unfairly dismissed by some jazz fans as just another doomed-junkie story, Bird is blunt about its subject's catastrophic heroin habit (when he died at age 34, the doctor who pronounced him dead guessed that Parker was about 65). But it's just one piece of the puzzle, along with Bird's prescient artistry; his keen intelligence; his mercurial emotions; his struggles with racism, finances, and the cops; and his love for challenging women, chief among them the free-spirited Chan (a snappy, sizzling Diane Venora). In the center of Bird stands Forest Whitaker, giving a towering, multilayered performance, breaking your heart but never losing his dignity. Best of all, this is one jazz movie that truly glorifies its music--Parker's own sax solos, dropped into modern accompaniment through the magic of technology, blaze in long takes at Paris theaters, Southern barn dances, Kansas City cutting contests, and Manhattan nightclubs. The movie makes a case for Parker as a unique artist who could not--or would not--create a better world for himself.

Charlie "Yardbird" Parker had been a hero of Clint Eastwood's since childhood, and Eastwood, having been disappointed in such jazz biopics as Young Man with a Horn, really wanted to make a true jazz fan's movie about the music. He cast Forest Whitaker as Parker, the legendary alto sax player, and Diane Venora as Chan, Parker's wife. The film shows how Parker, a genius who changed the face of modern music, was hampered and eventually destroyed by his appetite for women, food, and drugs. The two leads do a great job giving a recognizable human face to the characters' complex relationship. With wit and warmth, Bird tells the story in direct and honest terms, avoiding all sentimentality. Eastwood's love of Parker's music comes across in the tremendous care that he and composer Lennie Niehaus took with reconstructing it, using Parker's original solos. Eastwood and cinematographer Jack N. Green also patterned the dark, moody look of the film after old photos of musicians who used to appear in jazz magazines. Music lovers will be thrilled with the result, and movie lovers will find plenty to engage them in this moving tale of a great man battling his demons.

Baltimore City Paper -- October 24, 2000

(The Hardbop Page)

"Bird" @ IMDB

Friday, June 27, 2008

North Sea Jazz Festival

NORTH SEA JAZZ FESTIVAL - THE NETHERLANDS -
11, 12, 13 JULY 2008

Line Up: Bobby McFerrin, Omara Portuondo, Herbie Hancock Quintet, Al Jarreau, Sergio Mendes, Angie Stone, Bootsy Collins, Jill Scott, Mathew Herbert Big Band, Fink, Cassandra Wilson, Mark Murphy, Pat Metheny, Wayne Shorter, Paul Simon, Chaka Khan, Gino Vanelli, George Benson, Tower of Power, Deodato, Anjelique Kidjo, Soil & Pimp Sessions, Acoustic Ladyland, Freddy Cole, Charlie Haden, James Carter, Lou Donaldson, Stefano Di Battista, Paul Bley, Brad Mehldau, Branford Marsalis, Diana Krall, Etta James, Joe Jackson and more

North Sea Jazz Festival official website

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Red Snapper - Prince Blimey (1996)


At a time when Warp Records was known as "the premiere electronica label," along comes another album from this mostly acoustic quartet to drop some jaws with good old-fashioned musicianship. Richly accomplished for a sophomore full-length, Prince Blimey finds Red Snapper expanding rather than floundering for ideas. In a time where acid jazz was busy developing by artificial (sampled) means, Red Snapper's musical prowess became a force to be reckoned with, and many of the tracks here place heavy emphasis on the group's secret weapon: the rhythm section. On a drawing pad, many of these songs would look like pyramids, with the base (bass) end getting most of the emphasis and the top corner crammed with little harmonic afterthoughts. The double bass is essential to the success of these tracks, featuring Ali Friend growling, slinking, and sliding on the frets as confidently as Zeus with a thunderbolt in his hands. Similarly, Richard Thair keeps his drums in time with Friend -- hopscotching, marching, and breakbeating from R&B club to jazz dub to acoustic jungle. Only a handful of bands can successfully reside in the category of "electronica" when so little of their material stems from it, so Warp gets points for pushing the envelope just enough. In terms of songwriting, Red Snapper might not live in a completely furnished house, but the foundation is rock solid.

(Text - Glenn Swan, AMG)

Red Snapper @ MySpace

Red Snapper @ LastFm

Idea6 - Metropoli (2005)


A brilliant session of Italian jazz -- recorded with the depth and spirit of some of the classics that were reissued years ago by the Right Tempo label, and soaring with that uniquely tight sound that was bubbling on the Italian scene of the 60s and early 70s! The groove here is a mix of modal and hardbop influences -- played by a sextet that includes Gianni Basso on saxes, Dino Piana on trombone, Guido Pistocchi on trumpet, and Andrea Pozza on piano. All tracks are originals -- and all are wonderfully fresh -- bristling with the kind of electricity that makes us love some of our favorite Blue Note albums of the 60s, especially work from Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan! CD features10 tracks in all -- including "Train Up", "Minor Mood", "Metropoli", "New Born", "Autumn In Milano", "Pittura", "Vivacita", and "Windy Coast". Japanese version features different mastering -- with a bit more of a "60s" feel!

(from JAZZIN blog)

DejaVu Records MySpace page

Idea6 @ Last.Fm


Monday, June 23, 2008

Cassandra Wilson - Loverly (2008)

Cassandra Wilson's Loverly is amongst the singer's most straight-ahead and stripped down albums since her debut for Blue Note fifteen years ago with Blue Light 'Til Dawn (Blue Note, 1993). Self-produced, and recorded in a rented house in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi with little artifice, simple arrangements and a great sound, Wilson and a core quintet of regular playing partners deliver ten standards, Robert Johnson's “Dust My Blues,” and one band original, the West African-derived “Arere."

Wilson hasn't sounded this good for some time—elegant, unforced and buoyant. And in the rhythm. Most of the tracks are underpinned by kit drummer Herlin Riley and Nigerian drummer and percussionist Lekan Babalola. Wilson calls herself the “unproducer,” but her decision to create Loverly's arrangements from the drums up, starting with rhythm patterns suggested by Babalola and Riley, contributes immensely to a set shot through with mettle.

Great songs, great singing, and a great band. Lovely indeed.

(By Chris May - AllAboutJazz.com)

Cassandra Wilson Official site

Cassandra Wilson MySpace page

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dr. Vodkatini



Dr.Vodkatini were formed by a handful of musicians already playing in other bands.
All of them being fans of feel-good and groovy music they found themselves jammimg endlessly in the studio and after a while they moved their sessions on-stage of a few of the most famous live spots of Athens. That was the time that other members joined the band and the sequence of live performances increased rapidly for Dr. Vodkatini to become one of the most frequently appearing live bands in the local music scene ever, some of the most important festivals
(International Lounge Festival, European Music Day Festival, Earthdance, among others) included.
Nowadays their sound has been developed to become what is commonly known as freestyle and raw groove or just feel-good-groove music as the band prefers to label themselves.
Influenced by the soul music’s standards as set by Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye and the latin feel of Tito Puente, implementing the smoothness of Burt Bacharach and Donald Byrd together, Dr Vodkatini are releasing 10 tracks that will make you party, sway, fall in love and all that with a big smile on your face.

Επίσημη Ιστοσελίδα Dr. Vodkatini

Dr. Vodkatini MySpace page

Miles & Coltrane - So What

Friday, June 20, 2008

Films: Round Midnight (Bertrand Tavernier, 1986)

A French music lover befriends a once-great American jazz artist and attempts to save him from self-destruction in this moody drama. Saxophonist Dexter Gordon portrays Dale Turner, a fictional musician inspired by a number of famed jazz figures, including Bud Powell and Lester Young. Largely forgotten in his home country, Turner has moved to Paris in search of a more appreciative audience. He finds it in the form of Francis Borler (Francois Cluzet), a bebop aficionado who befriends the expatriate player. Borler soon becomes familiar with Turner's darker side, including his struggles with alcoholism, drug addiction, and depression. Fearing for the musician's life, the fan becomes his caretaker, an arrangement that leads to a brief improvement in Turner's health and fortunes but places great emotional strain upon them both. Director Bertrand Tavernier pays great attention to the visual and aural details of the jazz world, with outstanding musical supervision provided by Herbie Hancock. 'Round Midnight's greatest asset, however, is Gordon's Academy Award-nominated performance, informed by his own life experiences. His naturally fascinating presence combines with the film's obvious love of the music and its milieu to provide what many have hailed as one of the more authentic and affectionate presentations of the jazz world on the silver screen.

(Κείμενο από All Movie Guide)

Φιλμογραφία Bertrand Tavernier - imdb

Σύντομο βιογραφικό και δισκογραφία Dexter Gordon - AMG

Στιγμιότυπο από την ταινία

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

R.I.P - Esbjörn Svensson

Pianist Esbjörn Svensson Dies in Diving Accident

Daily News Headlines

Pianist Esbjörn Svensson, leader of the Swedish jazz trio E.S.T. that appeared on the May 2006 cover of DownBeat, died Saturday, June 14 in a diving accident in Sweden. He was 44

When Svensson founded E.S.T. in 1993 with drummer Magnus Öström on drums and bassist Dan Berglund, little did he know that 15 years later the group would stand as such a major force in the European--and international--jazz scene. In fact, the group’s appearance on the cover of DownBeat marked the only time that a European band has appeared on the cover of the magazine.

Born April 16, 1964 in Västeras, Sweden, Svensson grew up in a musical family. His mother played classical piano, his father loved Ellington, and Svensson listened to the latest pop hits on the radio. In high school, Svensson played in his first bands, along with taking piano lessons for three years. He followed this with four years of musical studies at the University in Stockholm. As Dan Ouellette wrote in his cover story on E.S.T., Svensson developed a piano style that clearly showed the influences of Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk (including the album E.S.T. Plays Monk, while incorporating modern electronic and sampling elements to his music. Most importantly, he created his own voice on the piano, and led a band that had developed its own identity.

While E.S.T. did sign to Columbia Records in the United States and release two albums on the label, and occasionally toured the country, the group never reached the rock-star status that it achieved in Europe. Svensson did not alter his music to try to cross over to a U.S. audience. As he said in the DownBeat cover story: ”I don’t think that people who like the music care whether we’re from here or Sweden. They want to hear good music.”

"Esbjörn Svensson was the finest of all men I ever met, humble, modest, respectful,” said his manager, Burkhard Hopper. “His light truly lit the world and his music inspired people in all corners of this world.”

E.S.T. had recently finished recording its 12th album, Leucocyte.

Svensson is survived by his wife and two children.

Yoko Kanno - Cowboy Bebop



Yoko Kanno
(菅野 よう子 Kanno Yōko, born March 19, 1964 in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan) is a composer, arranger and musician best known for her work on the soundtracks for many games, seminal anime films, TV series, live-action movies, and advertisements. She has written scores for famous animated works, including Macross Plus, Turn A Gundam, Cowboy Bebop, Vision of Escaflowne, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Wolf's Rain, and is the most trusted composer by veteran and new-wave directors such as Yoshiyuki Tomino, Shinichiro Watanabe and Shoji Kawamori.Kanno has also composed music for JPop artists, the most notable being Maaya Sakamoto and Kyoko Koizumi. She is also a skilled keyboardist, and is the frontwoman for The Seatbelts, who perform many of Kanno's compositions on the various original soundtracks for which she is responsible.

(Κείμενο από Wikepedia)

The Yoko Kanno Project

Ακούστε το κομμάτι 'Autumn in Gannymede'


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Twisted Jazz in Greece: "JAZZNOVATION"

The Sound Of Everything presents a new septet band call Jazznovation! Their sound is a mixture of latin rhythms & funky grooves with a jazz twist! Their repertoire consists of popular covers & jazz standards (revisited in their own unique way), but what makes them stand out is their original music (their debut album will be released soon by the sound of everything recordings). Even if you're not a straight jazzhead you are bound to enjoy this band and dance to their uplifting rhythms!
The first lp Jazznovation is out now on The Sound of Everything label
Catch them live on 21st June in Athens (MusicDay fest) and on 20th July in Santorini (Casablanca Soul). You've been warned! Don't miss it!

Jazznovation MySpage page


Ιστοσελίδα The Sound of Everything


Nuspirit Helsinki - S/T (2002)


Very 21st century, not at all cloying but easy on the ear and subtle as you could wish for, this debut might well become nu-jazz' flagship album. A potential archetype for the genre that crosses many genres and a highlight among this summer's releases, it also restores Guidance, a label that has been rather quiet of late, to the forefront of creative "dance-based" music. Even if the lounge bubble bursts or collapses under the weight of its own coziness, NuSpirit Helsinki will undoubtedly survive. Tuomas Kallio, DJ Ender, Kim Rantalla, and the rest of the players have put together a striking testimony to the new interdisciplinarity, but more importantly they have, by any reasonable yardstick, made some marvelous and, I suspect, timeless music.

(Κείμενο Maurice Bottomley @PopMatters)

NuSpirit Official

Ακούστε το κομμάτι "Seis Por Ocho" εδώ


4hero - Play with the Changes (2007)


4hero are that rare sort of group whose career refuses to be summed up in the narrow bounds of a 300 word review. Suffice to say, they were there at the birth of Jungle and have played the role of the scene’s eccentric uncles ever since, following their muses under a slew of aliases. Though they’ve been busy with other projects, this is their first new album since 2001’s Creating Patterns. Where that album alternated classic tunes with driving left-field instrumentals, Play With The Changes is much more straightforward.
The album bursts into life with a lightning break before acquiring strings, horns, harp and Carina Anderson, familiar to 4hero fans from the previous album’s standout cover version, “Les Fleur”. “Morning Child” is best described as anthemic soul. “Take My Time” continues in like fashion with a slightly more electronic, funkier edge. “Sink Or Swim” is all Fender Rhodes and a stop-start broken beat rhythm. Two exceptions to the album’s silky flow come towards the end with “Why Don’t You Talk”, a track that sounds surprisingly like jazz rock and the brief guitar-led finale, “Dedication To The Horse”.
Almost every track has at least one guest, including the likes of 70s superstar songwriter/producer Larry Mizell, broken beat musicians Bembe Segue and Kaidi Tatham, and street poet Ursula Rucker. The latter’s mother earth focus signals a rare moment of unease and echoes her lyrical contribution on “Loveless”, the opening track on 1998’s Two Pages. The ever-shifting personnel gives the album a sense of variety, both in terms of vocals and rhythms. However, there’s no loss of cohesion due to 4hero’s production skills and, in particular, their string arrangements. Play With The Changes is a breath of summer sunshine. Its sophisticated affirmation is welcome, though it’s difficult not to mourn the loss of 4hero’s experimental edge.

(Κείμενο: Colin Buttimer, BBC)

Επίσημη ιστοσελίδα 4Hero

4Hero MySpace page

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Digable Planets - Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)

The Happy Dog Project - Doggy Style (2007)


Happy Dog Project is a Greek band formed in an appartment @ downtown Athens, Greece, during the summer of 2000. The band performs it's own music that incorporates elements from balkan/greek traditional odd meters and funky/hip hop beats, mediterranean/middle eastern echoes, jazz impro, noises, dub and electro ambiences. The band's style changed over the years. In the beggining, it was more rough and hip hop-ish with DJ Marble spining vinyls and the band improvising along with guitar, hammond and rhodes in the front row. After some time, thinking and concers, the band focused more to the music of our own region of the world: the mediterranean/balkan/greek music and the rhythm signatures that come form this area. Happy Dog Project performed so far in live various venues, clubs and open air festivals in Greece and in Turkey (15th Akbank Jazz Festival @ Babylon Club, Istanbul). The band's first CD entitled "Dog Days Are Over" was out @ April 2004 from Ankh Records and their second one, entitled "Doggy Style", is out now from Ankh Records as well. Both CD's produced by Manolis Angelakis (with Stathis Ioannou on the second release).

Catch them live @ Technopolis, Athens on 20th June and Hyde Park, London on 21st June

The Happy Dog Project MySpace page

Classics Corner: Jobim - Wave (1967)


When Creed Taylor left Verve/MGM for his own label under the auspices of A&M, he quickly signed Antonio Carlos Jobim and they picked up right where they left off with this stunningly seductive record, possibly Jobim's best. Jobim contributes his sparely rhythmic acoustic guitar, simple melodic piano style, a guest turn at the harpsichord, and even a vocal on "Lamento," while Claus Ogerman lends a romantically brooding hand with the charts. A pair of instant standards are introduced ("Wave," "Triste"), but this album is to be cherished for its absolutely first-rate tunes -- actually miniature tone poems -- that escaped overexposure and thus sound fresh today. The most beautiful sleeper is "Batidinha," where the intuitive Jobim/Ogerman collaboration reaches its peak. One only wishes that this album were longer; 31:45 is not enough.

(Κείμενο από AMG)

Antonio Carlos Jobim Fanpage


Ltj Bukem - Journey Inwards

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Massive Attack's Meltdown


Οι Massive Attack επιμελούνται το φετινό φεστιβάλ Meltdown (14-21 Ιουνίου) που θα πραγματοποιηθεί στο South Bank Centre του Λονδίνου με εισιτήρια που κυμαίνονται μεταξύ 20-50 GBP (25-65 Euro). Το πρόγραμμα του Meltdown '08 περιλαμβάνει τους Massive Attack, Horace Andy, Yellow Magic Orchestra, The Heritage Orchestra, Shape of Broad Minds & Flying Lotus, Terry Calier & Aloe Blacc, George Clinton & Parliament. Εννιά μέρες γεμάτες φιλμ, συζητήσεις, συναυλίες, ομιλίες σε ένα από τα πλέον δραστήρια Πνευματικά Κέντρα της Βρετανικής μητρόπολης...

Ιστοσελίδα Meltdown @ South Bank Centre

Soil & Pimp Sessions - A.I.E (live @ Later)



PURE EXPLOSIVE JAZZ PUNK ASSAULT !!!

Ιστοσελίδα Soil & Pimp Sessions

S&P Sessions myspace page

Build An Ark - Dawn (2007)


Dawn is the follow up to Build An Ark's internationaly acclaimed debut full-length Peace With Every Step. Featuring an amazing cast of instrumentalist/composers including Dwight Trible, Nate Morgan, Adam Rudolph, Phil Ranelin, Derf Reklaw, Munyungo Jackson and nearly 30 others, and lead by producer Carlos Nino (Ammoncontact, Hu Vibrational, The Life Force Trio, The Sound Of L.A.) Build An Ark have created a modern masterpiece that tells of the coming age of transcendant consciousness and healing vibrations.
Celebrated for their collective creativity and ensemble improvisation, Build An Ark find themselves in that magical place where John & Alice Coltrane, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, and Joni Mitchell are one in a cosmic soul music that is both topical and metaphysical. From this mystical place, Build An Ark share a message of love for all life in the universe.
With 10 tracks total, 7 new originals flowing wonderfully with 2 classics by Pharoah Sanders and
the great "Love, Sweet Like Sugarcane" by living legend Big Black (who's played and/or recorded with everyone from Sun Ra, Quincy Jones, Bill Cosby, Marvin Gaye, Randy Weston, Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and Muhammad Ali), who joins the group on vocals and djembe, Dawn is a release that will resonate with music lovers of all kinds. The die-hard aficionados and the fresh- eared unitiated will find themselves connected by this incredible genre-bending offering that revels in the glory of cooperative expression and positive, heart-felt intent.

(Κείμενο από το SoulSeduction)

Samples του άλμπουμ από την Kindred Spirits records

Build An Ark myspace page

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Two Banks of Four - Junkyard Gods (2008)

(Sonar Kollektiv Records)

Two Banks of Four are producers Robert Gallagher a.k.a. Early Zinger & Dilip Harris a.k.a. Demus, two friends who have a long-standing passion of music, denim and Soviet constructivist design. Zinger was a former member of nu-jazz collective Galliano, who rode the wave of Gilles Peterson's wonderful Talkin' Loud label in the 90s, and more recently the force behind the many moods of Early Zinger, whose reggae rockers cover of Blur's "Song Two" was an underground hit on his own Red Egyptian label. Demus is a very respected London producer whose work includes the Young Disciples' debut LP, Ig Culture, Zero 7 and founding the Co-Op club.

It all started in 1997 in an unheated flat in West London. The first few sessions were interrupted by power cuts and the heavy noise of trains leaving the city. They enrolled Valerie Etienne (former Galliano stalwart and recording artist in her own right) to become the leader of the vocal troupe, and she promptly recruited Paul Jason Fredericks and Bembe Segue to create a powerful trio of voices who would command the front of any stage. Their first long player, City Watching, received props from the likes of Gilles Peterson and Jazzanova, and was remixed by class-A music producers such as Herbert and Derrick L. Carter. The critically acclaimed second album, Three Street Worlds, came out 3 years later on Red Egyptian Jazz. During this time, Valerie Etienne and Zinger got to know the Jazzanova crew, and sang on "Mwela Mwela (Here I Am)" from Jazzanova's illustrious In Between album. They became good friends and it seemed natural that they should release their 3rd album on Jazzanova's Sonar Kollektiv imprint.

Junkyard Gods is an epic tour de force that cruises effortlessly through the twisted labyrinth of modern music genres - from soul to funk over to house and broken beat. Demus and Zinger put the emphasis on interaction and improvisation between all the musicians involved in the project, peppering it with their own electronic experimentations. This mix of influences, individual ideas and collective thinking is centred by Valerie Etienne, whose presence shines through the record from beginning to end. The whole album is a wonderful journey made of quirky electronic beats and sounds, flute solos, saxophone, trumpet and piano, strangely chaotic harmonies and intricate drumming sequences. It's easy to listen to, yet extremely rich and complex in its structure, with uplifting and energetic tracks such as "Paper Planes" and "Flags and Words" that could easily make it into the box of many a club DJ, poppy numbers like "Dead Afternoons" and "Queen of Crows", and more experimental tracks such as "Wake Me 5.30" and "Go", where electronic beats and layers of warped, dirty synths challenge musical logic.

Junkyards Gods will teleport you kicking and screaming into another dimension of music. With Demus and Zinger as your space-captains and Valerie Etienne as your personal hostess, you can be sure you'll be taken on a trip that you've never heard before.

(Κείμενο από το επίσημο Δελτίο Τύπου)

Επίσημο site Two Banks of Four

Two Banks of Four MySpace page

Διαβάστε την κριτική του BBC για το προηγούμενο αριστουργηματικό άλμπουμ "Three Street Worlds" (2003)

Περισσότερα samples προς ακρόαση στο Last.fm




Mondo Grosso - Invisible Man (Live @ Paris, '95)

Wordwide Festival

Εντυπωσιακό το πρόγραμμα και για το φεστιβάλ του Gilles Peterson, Worldwide, που σκαρώνει ο δαιμόνιος dj στο ψαροχώρι Sete στη Νότια Γαλλία. Το WWF 2008 θα πραγματοποιηθεί στις 3 - 5 Ιουλίου και περιλαμβάνει μεταξύ άλλων: Cinematic Orchestra, Laurent Garnier, Madlib, Sebastien Tellier, Pascal Comelade, Breakestra, Henrik Schwarz, Benga, Gilles Peterson, zero dB, Pilooski, Little Dragon, Dynamax, Marathon Men, Toshio Matsuura, L'Aroye and Ky ... με λίγα λόγια την αφρόκρεμα της παγκόσμιας Jazz, Hip Hop, Dub Step, Funk,House and Electro σκηνής.

Η επίσημη ιστοσελίδα του Worldwide Festival


42nd Montreux Jazz Festival


Ένα από τα μεγαλύτερα μουσικά γεγονότα της γηραιάς ηπείρου ανοίγει τις πύλες του από τις 3 έως τις 19 Ιουλίου. To 42o Φεστιβάλ Τζαζ του Μοντρέ φιλοξενεί τους σπουδαιότερους καλλιτέχνες της τζαζ και οχι μόνο.
Ενδεικτικά αναφέρουμε ορισμένα από τα ονόματα που έχουν ανακοινωθεί για φέτος: Abdullah Ibrahim, Al Jerrau, Alicia Keys, Anjelique Kidjo, Babyshambles (!!!), Belleruche, Billy Cobham, Buddy Guy, Chaka Kahn, Curtis Stigers, David Sanborn, Deep Purple, Eddy Grant, Erykah Badu, Etta James, Fischerspooner, Gary Moore, Gilberto Gill, Gnarls Barkley, Herbie Hancock, Interpol, James Lidell, Jill Scott, Joan Baez, Joe Jackson, John Mayall & The Blues Breakers, K. D. Lang, Katie Mehlua, Lenny Kravitz, Leonard Cohen, Luciano, Madness, Mick Hucknall, N.E.R.D, Nana Mouscouri, Nazareth (!!!), Paolo Bolognesi, Paolo Nuttini, Paul Simon, Petula Clark, Quincy Jones, Richard Galliano, Saxon, Sheryl Crow, Talib Kweli, The Kills, The National, Tower of Power, Travis, Underworld...

Ολόκληρο το πρόγραμμα σε pdf


Επίσημη ιστοσελίδα του Φεστιβάλ

Nostalgia 77 - Hope Suite

The Cinematic Orchestra - Live @ The Royal Albert Hall

(Ninja Tunes, 2008)

One of the most revered and versatile live bands from the UK, The Cinematic Orchestra have toured the world, headlined festivals, and even performed a party for Stanley Kubrick. On November 2, 2007 they played at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London accompanied by the 24-piece Heritage Orchestra. This release highlights the best moments from the night, including songs from the band's most recent album "Ma Fleur", as well as favorites from previous albums. Featuring "To Build A Home", "Breathe", "All That You Give", "Flite", and more. Guest vocalists include Lou Rhodes, Grey Reverend, and Heidi Vogel.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Quasimode


On the club jazz scene, quasimode has introduced itself as one of the best band all over the world.
In 2006, the first album "oneself-LIKENESS" was released. It acquired 1st place across the board with the club chart of the foreign-affiliated CD shops in Japan.
In 2007, the second album, "The Land of Freedom", was released and it was ranked at the 4th place for 2007 BEST JAZZ RECORDS chosen by the J-WAVE'S radio program hosted by Gilles Peterson.
The album became worldwide sensation; it was ranked at the top of club as well as Jazz charts of not only CD shops but also iTunes Store in Japan and SONAR KOLLEKTIV, Germany label led by JAZZANOVA, licensed the album and released it worldwide.
A live album, "Straight to the Land of Freedom", which recorded the live featuring the second album at LIQUIDROOM was released in March of 2008, becoming a smash hit.

Book: Blue Nippon

Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan (Duke University Press, 2001)
by Taylor Atkins

Japan’s jazz community—both musicians and audience—has been begrudgingly recognized in the United States for its talent, knowledge, and level of appreciation. Underpinning this tentative admiration, however, has been a tacit agreement that, for cultural reasons, Japanese jazz “can’t swing.” In Blue Nippon E. Taylor Atkins shows how, strangely, Japan’s own attitude toward jazz is founded on this same ambivalence about its authenticity.
Engagingly told through the voices of many musicians, Blue Nippon explores the true and legitimate nature of Japanese jazz. Atkins peers into 1920s dancehalls to examine the Japanese Jazz Age and reveal the origins of urban modernism with its new set of social mores, gender relations, and consumer practices. He shows how the interwar jazz period then became a troubling symbol of Japan’s intimacy with the West—but how, even during the Pacific war, the roots of jazz had taken hold too deeply for the “total jazz ban” that some nationalists desired. While the allied occupation was a setback in the search for an indigenous jazz sound, Japanese musicians again sought American validation. Atkins closes out his cultural history with an examination of the contemporary jazz scene that rose up out of Japan’s spectacular economic prominence in the 1960s and 1970s but then leveled off by the 1990s, as tensions over authenticity and identity persisted.
With its depiction of jazz as a transforming global phenomenon, Blue Nippon will make enjoyable reading not only for jazz fans worldwide but also for ethnomusicologists, and students of cultural studies, Asian studies, and modernism.