Last Tuesday I spoke with American soul / r&b singer Robin McKelle via Skype. Robin is currently on tour in France performing a series of concerts and also played at the Jazz Café in London for the first time; a gig I attended and thoroughly enjoyed. The French connection is not an insignificant one; Robin more or less got her break in France where her records really got the most airplay initially and she has been able to build up quite a following there. Ironically the first time I heard Robin’s music was on Paris station FIP on satellite radio (in the days before internet streaming took off).
Hear, hear: Alice in Grooveland’s debut album, “Skyline” is out now!
Alice is: Andrew Myers on keyboard and all compositions, Nick Bradshaw on drums, Linas Benas on alto sax and Leslee Booth on 6-string bass.
Last week American saxophonist Najee was in town to record some tracks for his forthcoming album. JLR was invited to the plush Livingston studios in Wood Green (North London) to see some of the recording session and to meet the musicians involved in the project.
On 24th November I travelled to Vienna for a special concert by Juan-Garcia Herreros aka Snow Owl and his band. The concert was held at the prestigious ORF RadioKulturhaus and was recorded for radio broadcast which means a lot considering ORF is the national broadcaster of Austria.
Last month Jazz London Radio had the opportunity to interview drum legend and composer Harvey Mason. Harvey was in London with his group for two dates at Ronnie Scotts as part of the London Jazz Festival held every November in prestigious venues throughout London. I met Harvey at his hotel in the heart of Central London before he was due to have the sound check. Harvey was relaxed and in good form, and why not? It is always a privilege to do a job you love and tour the world playing for the people. I didn’t get to the gig at Ronnie Scotts but did go to the sound check and the band sounded great, I am sure the punters got their money’s worth that night.
Jazz London Radio is delighted to announce pianist and educator Andrea Vicari will present a new show called “Andrea Vicari’s Jazz Doodles”. Andrea will focus mainly on music that has influenced her whilst promoting contemporary British jazz. The show will be run three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Stay tuned to the schedule to see exact times over the coming weeks.
Carl Hyde’s photographs exude musicality, freedom, beauty and a love for jazz. Being interested in photography myself, when I came across Carl’s pictures, I found them so refreshing. There is humanity behind the glossy façade which makes them so much more than just photographs! We meet at the small but perfectly formed “Bar Italia” in Frith Street in London to talk jazz and, of course, photography!
I believe jazz is one of the more interesting musical forms because of the way you prepare to perform it and the execution of the performance. Despite the majority of a jazz performance being improvised, a large amount of preparation is required. The preparation takes lots of forms; it’s important to be technically proficient on your instrument so you can execute what you choose to improvise, you need to understand the harmonic structure of the music you are playing so you can choose the notes that sound nice (if that’s what you want!) or the sounds that create tension within the music if that’s the feeling you want to convey.
Recently I had the opportunity to have a skype call with the great American piano player Tom Grant. During his long career, Tom has played with many great artists such as Joe Henderson and presently runs his own label where he promotes up and coming artists such as the talented Toni Lincoln.