Monday, October 24, 2011

[Jazz on Film] Sounds and Silence - Peter Guyer and Norbert Wiedmer, 2009

«sounds and silence» is a musical road movie about the passionate career of a man obsessed with music.

On the way through a world of sounds and noise – with Manfred Eicher, the oustanding discoverer and mediator of contemporary music and founder of the music label ECM. On this journey we are meeting musicians and composers, but also people and places which are connected with him and with each other. We are encountering stories, landscapes, cities, disputes and hugs, tranquillity, hectic pace, work, self-doubt, joy, passion.

A search for clues at concerts, in recording studios, in back rooms, at waysides with the musicians Arvo Pärt, Eleni Karaindrou, Dino Saluzzi, Anouar Brahem, Gianluigi Trovesi, Marilyn Mazur, Nik Bärtsch, Kim Kashkashian, Jan Garbarek and many others. A sensual, impressive, meditative road movie which accomplishes the extraordinary : to catch the magic of music.

Friday, October 21, 2011

[Jazz on Film] - Begone Dull Care (1949)

Begone Dull Care (1949) is a visual music animated film directed by Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart. Using drawn on film animation, McLaren and Lambart paint and scratch directly onto film stock to create a visual representation of Oscar Peterson's jazz music. The film is produced by the National Film Board of Canada.
" Begone Dull Care is one of the great classics not only of animation but also of jazz on film. This 1949 short captures with joy and remarkable precision the spirit of the jazz music performed by the Oscar Peterson Trio. Director-animators Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart applied colours directly to the clear film with paint brushes of various sizes, stencil brushes, sprayers, crumpled paper and different textured fabrics.
As an example of film-jazz fusion, Begone Dull Care has captivated writers expert in both genres. In an interview about his 2000 book Jazz et Cinema, author Gilles Moullic says, "the most beautiful short on jazz is truly McLaren's Begone Dull Care"…. In it, McLaren understands very well that jazz-cinema is whatever 'happens' on screen. He worked a lot on a form of movement which is drawn out over the entire duration of the piece. There are flashes, breaks and splits in the drawing as well as, simultaneously, a continuous rhythm, a necessary pulse.” This National Film Board of Canada production won seven international awards, including prizes from the Venice and Berlin film festivals, and, more than 50 years after its creation, still appears on some critics Top 10 lists.
Begone Dull Care is one of 60 films directed and animated by Norman McLaren during his carreer at the National Film Board of Canada [AVTrust] "

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Deep Blue Organ Trio - Wonderful (2011)

Chicago's Deep Blue Organ Trio mines one of popular soul artist Stevie Wonder's most fertile creative periods—the late sixties through the early seventies—on Wonderful!. The organ trio format is known for its unvarnished soulfulness, and the group's reverent treatment of these familiar hits gives a breezy lift to Wonder's always engaging and ebullient melodies.

A Hammond B3 organ, guitar and drums is a pared-down way to express music, especially Wonder's often highly produced sounds. But it is a refreshing way to listen to Wonder's songs, a way that emphasizes the purity of his catchy melodies. On "Jesus Children of America," from one of Wonder's handful of masterpieces, Innervisons (Motown, 1973), organist Chris Foreman drives the tune forward on a cold gusty wind, with drummer Greg Rockingham supplying an undercurrent of cymbal splashes, punctuated by snare drum pops. Guitarist Bobby Broom's lines are sharp and piquant, slicing through the wash of the B3.

"My Cheri Amour," the title track of Wonder's 1969 album, and one of his most popular and recognizable tunes, get a ruminative treatment, laidback and relaxed, with Broom comping beautifully behind Foreman. "Golden Lady," another huge Wonder hit from Innervisions, has a feeling of yearning, with Broom and Foreman trading the lead in front of turbulent drums.

Wonder's music has always been well-crafted and tightly-arranged. The Deep Blue Organ Trio works with the same tight, flawless, soulful approach to music making, and they have crafted a fittingly Wonderful! tribute to living legend.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

VA - Brownswood Bubblers 7 (2011)

It’s a typically diverse selection of rough diamonds plucked from the stream of amazing music that winds its way through Brownswood HQ: UK beatnut Jon Phonics opens proceedings with a glittering 80s funk bomb; Tanya Auclair lays raw vocal harmonies upon sparse, rickety drum structures, nestling comfortably in the nook between the electronic and the organic; our own jazz prodigy Zara McFarlane draws inspiration from the late, great Harry Whitaker on ‘Waking Sleep (Thoughts)’; and there’s a nod to vintage Badu-esque soul via the effortlessly graceful Ntjam Rosie. Veering into hip-hop territory, Tall Black Guy, Chris Turner and Jesse Boykins (featuring MachineDrum on production duties) provide the requisite bump, whilst Cubic Zirconia’s ‘Night Or Day’ finds Tiombe Lockhart and Bilal duetting on a deliciously loose-fitting techno jam. Bringing up the rear, Ratcliffe (half of UK institution Basement Jaxx) unleashes the sonic equivalent of a Hudson Mohawke / Aphex Twin collabo – deranged hypercolour pop of the highest order.

Brownswood Bubblers Seven // Album Teaser by Brownswood

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Zara McFarlane - Until Tomorrow (2011)

Zara McFarlane - 'Until Tomorrow' Album Preview by Brownswood

Anybody keeping an eye on the ongoing development of the British jazz scene will have noticed Zara McFarlane in the last few years. The 28 year-old London vocalist has made a string of impressive appearances with musicians who do no choose their collaborators without careful consideration – Denys Baptiste, Orphy Robinson, Soweto Kinch and Jazz Jamaica All Stars to name but some. McFarlane’s appearance on the latter’s 2006 Motown-themed album Motor City Roots revealed a singer whose power was offset by delicacy, as was clear from her sensitive handling of Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour.

The arrangements for Until Tomorrow have a liberal dose of subtle, stealthy swing, yet as steeped as Zara McFarlane is in the jazz tradition, she has brought an eminently soul undercurrent to what she does, and it is entirely possible that she could appeal to audiences weaned as much on Jill Scott and Erykah Badu as Cassandra Wilson and Dianne Reeves. Blessed with a fine voice and a strength of character that has led her towards thought-provoking, if not challenging lyrics, Zara McFarlane has with Until Tomorrow taken a giant step down the road to what is surely a long, illustrious career.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Randa & The Soul Kingdom - What You Need (2011)

Hailing from Perth and firmly at the forefront of the Australian funk and soul scene are Randa & The Soul Kingdom led by Jordanian born and Australian raised soul sister Randa Khamis.

With producer Lance Ferguson (The Bamboos, Cookin On 3 Burners, Lanu, Black Feeling) at the controls of the debut self titled album, the result was bristling with edgy, gritty funk and soul. The buzz on Randa And The Soul Kingdom led to a full European tour with label mates Deep Street Soul, a live session for Mark Lamarr on BBC Radio 2. Randa was being lauded as a modern day equivalent to Marva Whitney, Ann Sexton and Vicki Anderson in their prime by Mojo Magazine, Blues & Soul and Randa's music even featuring in the US version of teen TV show Skins.

Instead of flying straight back to Australia after the tour, Randa spent 6 months residing in London collaborating with funk/soul artists to write her second album. Inspired and influenced by the music and musicians in London, the second album What You Need was born. Finally back in Melbourne, Australia she went straight into The Shed Studios where the songs were recorded and produced by Lance Ferguson and John Castle (Megan Washington) once again at the controls.

Whilst retaining the funk undercurrent, this new album What You Need also often incorporates elements of 60's and Northern soul, 70's disco and some more down tempo, reflective moments within what is a varied and mature collection of songs.

With this follow up album, Randa & The Soul Kingdom cement their reputation as one of the most hard working and authentic purveyors of genuine 21st century soul.