"Back in July we reported on “Go Back,” the Damon Albarn-featuring/co-written first single off Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen‘s upcoming solo album Film of Life. Last week Allen revealed the video for the serene yet funky song, and, along the way, gives urgent meaning to the title of the record, which was produced by French trio The Jazzbastards, and, in addition to Albarn, features Nigerian singer Kuku. Living up to the very words “film” and “life,” the video is a penetrating yet ultimately affirming portrait of the pained and the joyous shot in crisp black-and-white. Managing to be both mysterious and resonant, the video, like the song, beautifully honors not only the African refugees who wound up on the Italian island of Lampedusa; it perhaps pays respect to all refugees, whether literal or metaphorical. The dark beauty of the song, then, shines through and the video powerfully conveys its apparent theme of longing for the faded. Seemingly more reflective than his energetic 2006 album Lagos No Shaking (released by Albarn on his Honest Jon’s label), Film of Life could very well amount to Allen’s most impassioned work yet. Watch the “Go Back” video, which premiered over at the Guardian, below, and look for Film of Life in October via Jazz Village." okayafrica
"A few months back, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen shared his latest collaboration with ex Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, the beautiful ballad “Go Back.” Albarn blessed fans with his vocals and keys while Tony kept the rhythm on the song, which will appear on Film of Life, releasing next month on JazzVillage.
Now to complement the track, the duo have shared an equally beautiful video, which also serves as an homage to the African refugees who ended up on the Italian island of Lampedusa. Shot in black and white, the stunning video evokes a visceral reaction through documentation of its subjects. The softness and melody of the track makes the experience all the more poignant.”
"Listen to music by the American composer Moondog, aka Louis Hardin, or "the Viking of 6th Avenue," who was also a musician, a poet and the inventor of several musical instruments (and was blind.) He adopted his nom de plume in honor of a dog "who used to howl at the moon more than any dog I knew of." Moondog performed daily in a cape and Viking helmet on the corner of 52nd Street and 6th Avenue in New York City, up until 1974, when he left for Germany. He died on September 8, 1999 at the age of 83 in Munster, Germany.
Also, hear Moondog’s music as arranged by sax-men Sylvain Rifflet & Jon Irabagon…”
"In her fifth solo release, vocalist Catherine Russell has decided to dive deep into the American songbook. As she began to choose the repertoire for the new record, her search began by visiting the work of her father Luis Russell. Between the years of 1935 -1942, her father was the musical director and primary arranger for trumpeter Louis Armstrong. Together the two recorded countless records including a song "I’m Shooting High", covered by Russell on her new record.
In addition to the work of Louis Armstrong and Luis Russell, this record is full of forgotten gems of the jazz age and swing era which are given new life with help of a 10-piece orchestra. The album is a mix of sounds: a little bit of New Orleans, the music sourced from old blues icons (Wynonie Harris, Little Willie John) and the American songbook.
All week, you can hear tracks from “Bring It Back” on The Jonathan Channel. Enjoy a sneak peak from this new release with the free download, “Lucille”.”
"…Whether you know it or not, Allen has influenced the sound of many of the most popular musicians and bands in modern pop music – from Paul Simon to Talking Heads, The Roots to Vampire Weekend.
Blur frontman and Gorillaz vocalist/chief songwriter Damon Albarn collaborated with Allen on the 2007 album The Good, the Bad and the Queen, citing Allen as a major influence (the supergroup also featured Paul Simonon of The Clash). In 2012, Albarn and Allen teamed up again, this time enlisting Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, to release Rocket Juice & the Moon. Famed producer and celebrated sonic engineer Brian Eno has called Allen “the greatest drummer in the world.”…
Allen joins the Chicago Afrobeat Project for an eight-city tour this month, making a stop at York College tonight. For Ford and the Chicago Afrobeat Project, getting a chance to play with the co-creator of the sound was a validation of the group’s effort to bring its own fresh blend of Afrobeat to American audiences…
Additionally, Allen is set to release his tenth solo album in October: Film of Life (Jazz Village). The album is to be released October 14, and sees Allen once again working with former collaborator Damon Albarn. Here’s a teaser for the album, “Go Back”…
Along with tonight’s performance, Allen conducts a master class on drumming at 3:30 p.m. at the DeMeester Recital Hall, which is free and open to the public.
What’s a lesson that Allen has taught Kevin Ford?
“Here’s a guy that’s over 74 years old, and he’s still touring and throwing down,” says Ford. “It makes me feel like there’s still time to do a lot in music. It’s inspiring. The dude’s a baller.”
"The music of blind street composer Louis Thomas Hardin (1916-1999), “The Viking of Sixth Avenue”, aka Moondog, recalled here on this live album from saxophonists Rifflet and Irabagon, a small group, and even a children’s choir in a sprawling project, one that splutters with energy, which was premiered at the 2013 Banlieues Blues festival in Paris. Moondog remains as ever a curiosity. On this reading it’s easy to gauge his cross-genre appeal spanning jazz and contemporary classical music, one that draws magpie-like on a huge range of styles that include most tellingly, from a jazz point of view anyway, Mingus-like compositional methods inventively steered by the saxophonists and ensemble, the music arranged by Rifflet whose international reputation [and] his efforts here will do him the power of good."
Preorder Perpetual Motion: A Celebration of Moondog - out Oct 14 - on Amazon: http://ow.ly/BiWyT
Live at The Olympia is out tomorrow! http://ow.ly/BeU3W
#ThrowbackThursday - Revisit Harold López-Nussa's performance on Radio Boston the last time he was in the US!
Catch Harold this month at blue whale in Los Angeles (9/20), Monterey Jazz Festival (9/21), SFJAZZ (9/25), Iowa State University in Ames (9/26), The Washington in Burlington (9/27), Evanston SPACE (9/29) and The Jazz Standard in NYC (9/30). http://ow.ly/B6lJb
“Harold López-Nussa sits down to the piano and, aftera few warm-up scales, goes to work. Whereas a few minutes earlier he was relaxed. chatting easily, joking with members of his audience, he suddenly appears transformed, both mentally and physically. His concentration is total, his virtuosity confirmed again and again with flawless runs up and down the keyboard. His head and shoulders tilt toward his instrument, not with strain but with the humility of a knight bowing to his sovereign. His audible breathing and intermittent mumbling make him seem like a less troubled version of Glenn Gould.”
"This set from the legendary jazzmen Ahmad Jamal and Yusef Lateef proves that these veteran musicians have ideas that are as fresh as any they have ever had. Live at the Olympia is available as a 2 CD and DVD set, with the first disc featuring a set by Jamal at the piano with his quartet, featuring Reginald Veal on double bass, Herlin Riley on drums, and Manolo Badrena on percussion. Lateef joins this quartet on the second disc, adding his own distinctive brand of woodwind playing and singing to the trio’s eclectic sound.
…Jamal performs three of his own compositions—“Autumn Rain,” “I Remember Italy,” and “Morning Mist”—along with several standards. While Jamal’s original tunes are certainly interesting and competently executed, the disc’s most memorable cuts are the group’s creative renderings of jazz standards: a somewhat fragmented Latin feel on “Blue Moon,” a driving, in-the-pocket rendition of “Invitation” that allows Jamal and company to stretch out, and a stop-and-start rendering of “Laura.” As would be expected from an artist of Jamal’s caliber, the playing on these cuts is excellent; Jamal presents his signature bursts of Monk-tinged dissonance, and continually trades musical cues with his bandmates, all the while maintaining a lyrical sensibility and technical precision (as is evident in the rhythm section’s lock-step groove on “Invitation” or Jamal’s blistering right hand runs during “Blue Moon”).
…The best moments on the second disc occur when the late saxophonist, flautist, and vocalist Lateef pushes Jamal’s group out of their musical comfort zone, as he does on his mostly free-form composition “Exatogi,” seamlessly transitioning to his somewhat more conventional “Masara,” although this cut is complete with dissonant flute yelps. Lateef further pulls the group into a gospel-tinged hard bop idiom, contributing vocals on “Trouble in Mind” and “Brother Hold Your Light…”
Live at The Olympia is out next Tuesday! http://ow.ly/Ayee0