I haven’t done this type of music break (i.e. all jazz) in a while. But before counting down some good music (basically stuff I’ve been listening to lately), first let me promote an event: Later this month, April 20th, the University of York in the UK, hosts a one-day “discussion” on “South African Jazz Cultures.” All the details are at the link, including the program which includes contributions from the musicians Emmanuel Abdul-Rahim, Darius Brubeck (son of Dave, who teaches music in Kwazulu-Natal), and famed drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo. Moholo-Moholo and Abdul-Rahim will talk about working with Johnny Dyani. Also on the program is film maker Aryan Kaganof, researcher Brett Pyper and Matt Temple of Matsuli Music. Hopefully they put the whole thing online for those who can’t be there. Now for this week’s Jazz Breaks.
A few weeks ago, Brooklyn-based piano player and lawyer Steve Jenkins introduced me to the music of another pianist, Jon Batiste. Louisiana-born, New York City-based Batiste, from a prominent musical family, who released his first record at 17 (Christian Scott is also on the album), is already a fixture on the American jazz scene (he is also an art director at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem) and takes over New York City streets with his band New Orleans style, so I was surprised that I had not heard about him or his music. I guess I’ve been too busy raising children. Anyway, it turns out he starred in the TV drama Treme (about New Orleans) and had an outsized, but small, role as a church organist in Red Hook Summer. Since then I have been catching up. Just google him. Here‘s an interview with him from 2012. Below are two videos of him playing; in the first he plays the melodica, both a mouth-blown reed instrument and a keyboard, on a Stevie Wonder cover with the Soul Rebel Brass Band:
In the second, he plays piano and sings accompanied by his band, The Stay Human Band:
Another piano player I’ve come to like is Guillermo Klein, who fuses the music of his native Argentina with contemporary jazz. He lives largely in Spain where he teaches jazz. Here’s a sample with his band, Los Guachos:
Here’s 8 minutes of playing from experimental composer and conductor Adam Rudolph and Go:Organic Orchestra (yes, this is way more experimental) recorded in Brooklyn:
The American guitarist Marc Ribot. Nice, recent review of his playing in The Financial Times. To get a sense of his sound, listen to him performing live last year with his trio on New Jersey public radio (for a 70-minute set!).
Then there’s the jazz inflected sounds of Moonchild, a South African band to watch:
Finally, Reginald Bowers is a sax player from Riverlea, a working class coloured township in Johannesburg. He is not famous. He studied music. Point is, I just love Reginald’s ambition (he wants to start a jazz school and premiere a Riverlea Jazz Band). The short film was made by Twenty Four Frames, which combines health politics with media. You can also follow them on Twitter.