Music Blog

December 2, 2010

Pianist Sal Mosca was one of the most musically gifted of the Tristano School players who enjoyed a critically important position in modern jazz from the late 1940s onwards. As a pianist he was as gifted as Tristano himself. His style developed independently of Tristano's, and was quite divergent in his later years. Though not among the most well-known of those players, he was achieving recognition towards the end of his life, despite an uncompromising rejection of the commercial imperatives of his art. His searching, exploratory improvisations graced some of the most important Tristano School recording...

April 20, 2008

Andy Hamilton caught up with David Liebman between his masterclass and concert in Manchester

with guitarist Phil Robson's group, featuring bassist Aidan O'Donnell and Liebman's old partner, drummer Jeff Williams. This was the conclusion of a brief UK tour which began with a two night residence at the Vortex in London. I met the saxophonist in the RNCM cafeteria, a throwback to British cuisine of the 60s. But we were not downcast - David was going to eat elsewhere later, and anyway was in talkative mood. As time was quite limited, his verbal tempo in fact seemed to speed up through the interview, but not...

October 19, 2007

Jazz pianist Paul Bley is usually known for his spacious, restrained lyricism, honed with his formative years in the Jimmy Giuffre group and later with music composed by the women in his life, Carla Bley and Annette Peacock. In Bley’s 75th year, Andy Hamilton reassesses his career, highlighting his founding role in cementing the early 60s free jazz avant garde with Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra, and his pioneering synthesizer and electronics improvisations at the dawn of the 70s. 

"As time moves forward, the albums become more autobiographical, and lose a preset agenda. Now it's more a case of...

February 21, 2007

"I was labelled a free player when I first came to New York. Ornette Coleman and free jazz,

that was no problem for me – I would jump on that train too, and have a good time!" But Sonny Simmons has a curious ambivalence towards the free jazz that made his name: "I got sucked into the avant-garde when I was a young cat. I said 'This is the lick, I'm going with it'. But actually, I'd just as rather just play beautiful melodies, with my own compositions, with a groove. That's my true heart. Avant-garde and free, man, that's cool, but it only goes so far.... People want to hear a snap [he clicks a groove wit...

February 20, 2007

On River: The Joni Letters (2007), Herbie Hancock renews an association with the great singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, who he first worked with on her celebrated album with Charles Mingus. With producer Larry Klein, he selected thirteen songs, and as Klein has explained, "we used the words to guide us. All of the music emanated from the poetry." They assembled an all-star band to interpret them – Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, and guitarist Lionel Loueke. Characteristically for Universal, these instrumentalists support a clutch of vocalists, from Corinne Bailey Rae and Norah Jone...

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