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Aubrey Logan: "I chose trombone because trombone just kicks my ass, and I needed to do something that was hard" - (DownBeat June 2019).

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2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The voting is open between now and May 31 to enable site visitors to nominate their choices in the various categories of this year's APPJAG awards which can be done here.
BSH was very proud to be nominated and to win the 2018 Media Award and hope we can have your support again this year.

Today Wednesday May 22

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Julija Jacenaite & Alan Law - Jazz Café, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 261 5618. 2:00pm. Free. Café Mezzanine (first floor, access via crafts shop).

Evening

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £1.00.

Blues

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

CD Review: Michael Mantler – The Jazz Composer's Orchestra Update

Nouvelle Cuisine Big Band (Conductor: Christoph Cech) – soloists: Michael Mantler (trumpet), Harry Sokal (tenor saxophone).
radio.string.quartet.vienna: Bernie Mallinger (violin), Igmar Jenner (violin), Cynthia Liao (viola), Asja Valcic (cello) + Bjarne Roupé (guitar), Wolfgang Puschnig (alto saxophone), David Helbock (piano)
(Review by Hugh C.)
Vienna born composer-trumpeter Michael Mantler recorded The Jazz Composer's Orchestra in 1968. First released on the orchestra's own label, this was later reissued by ECM. The album featured Mantler conducting a large jazz orchestra which included some of the luminaries of the time including: Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd, Pharoah Saunders, Larry Coryell and Gato Barbieri.
In the process of digitising his catalogue, Mantler reacquainted himself with early scores, eventually envisioning fresh performances of not only this vintage material, but also including new versions of material from that period never previously recorded.
In The Jazz Composer's Orchestra Update Mantler has re-imagined his 1960s music for the 21st century, with the amplified radio.string.quartet.vienna added to the instrumentation along with the prominent electric guitar of Bjarne Roupé. They and the Nouvelle Cuisine Big Band were recorded live at Vienna's Porgy and Bess club in 2013.
The CD comes in at just under 55 minutes and comprises ten tracks, all composed by Mantler: Updates One, Eight, Nine, Eleven, Five, Six, Ten and Twelve – parts 1, 2 and 3.
I am not familiar with any of the original album and so come to this with fresh ears. You will have to be a lover of free improvisation to like this CD. I will nail my colours firmly to the mast – I am not! The sleeve notes contain an in depth interview with Michael Mantler. In response to the question: “Has the ratio of composition to improvisation changed from the original album to the new one” he replies: “Very much so. Even though the original idea was, even then, to control and somewhat limit what were, in my opinion, the excesses of free improvisation...” well I think we can agree there! His aim, in the new realisation was to “create a continuity that melds improvisation and composition into one homogeneous work”.
I think he has achieved this aim. There are periods of (composed) breathtaking beauty for both small ensemble and big band, interspersed with raucous cacophony. The CD probably needs to be listened to as a whole, end to end, rather than selectively. The track breaks are hardly noticeable if one is not watching the CD player display.
Overall then, I think this release will fill a niche and will probably appeal to those with an interest in Mantler's previous work (including the 1968 original). The jazz enthusiast with a liking for the big band sound, but with a more experimental twist, is also likely to be rewarded.
The Jazz Composer's Orchestra Update is available on the ECM Label Catalogue Number 379 0789.
Hugh C.

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