While I get on with deciding which of this week’s noms offer a sufficiently scientific and/or philosophical take on the subject of large-scale atmospheric circulation, here is a taste of the sort of things you should have been suggesting over on RR to have any chance of getting on the final list… Sorry, I have no idea why this didn’t appear at 9 o’clock this morning as it was supposed to.
Okay, I’m a realist. I’m well aware that the problem this week is likely to be finding any song that you can bear to keep, rather than, as with other people’s contributions to this series, trying to decide which of eleven equally marvellous tracks you could bear to lose. Thing is, if I put together a playlist covering the whole range of my musical interests, from Wagner to the new Susanna Hoffs album, the contemporary jazz tracks would get the boot without a moment’s thought, whereas if I put together a playlist that is nothing but contemporary jazz, you’re going to have to listen to some of it, however briefly…
Tomasz Stanko: Morning Heavy Song A nice quiet one to start things off from this great Polish trumpeter, with the subtle Kind of Blue interplay that characterises all his groups.
Matthew Shipp: Vamp to Vibe Avant-garde US pianist interested in interactions with electronica and hip hop; powerful support from William Parker, the leading avant-garde bass player.
Bojan Z: CD-ROM Fantastic pianist from what used to be Yugoslavia; this from an album he made with musicians from his homeland, making explicit the influences in his music.
Polar Bear: To Touch the Red Brick Experimental UK band led by drummer Seb Roachford and his amazing hair; nominated for the Mercury in 2005, for what that’s worth.
Gilad Atzmon & the Orient House Ensemble: Tuto Tango Ex-pat Israeli saxophonist and political activist; played live, this used to come with spoken-word sections denouncing Bush and Blair as war criminals – always a laugh in true blue Sherborne…
Food: Red Algae UK saxophonist Ian Ballamy and Norwegian drummer Thomas Stronen, and their electronic soundscapes.
Guy Barker: Ornette in New York A bit conventional relative to the rest of the list: UK trumpeter, normally associated with a more traditional approach, messes about with Ornette Coleman tunes. Orchestration by Colin Towns of Gillan and Doc Martin music fame…
Partisans: Prelude to a Kiss The John McLaughlin Quartet de nos jours: Julian Siegel on saxes, Phil Robson on guitar, with an Ellington cover.
Zentralquartett: Solar Plexus My favourite bunch of ex-DDR musical anarchists; described by the Penguin Jazz Guide as “a kind of bad-tempered post-bop”.
David S. Ware Quartet: Godspelized Arguably the main contemporary heir to John Coltrane’s extended improvisations. Supported by Shipp and Parker (see above), and amazing drummer Susie Ibarra.
E.S.T.: Elevation of Love The late lamented Esbjorn Svensson and his trio; not at their most subtle, but undeniable power for a jazz piano trio.