The tree of life of jazz grew strong from blues, swing, bebop to cool and branched out into various directions like funk, fusion and free jazz. Today it still stands tall. Adding something fresh to this one-hundred-year-plus history isn’t quite an easy task. However what is fresh? Something truly new and innovating or finding your place within this history by means of your own creative terms? Kamasi Washington chose the latter path and released a three-hour sprawl called The Epic which takes you deep into the heart of jazz.
Please bear with me for a moment: this review is about a young Canadian jazz trio that calls itself BadBadNotGood, which is written as BADBADNOTGOOD and abbreviated as BBNG. Seems simple right? Alas, it isn’t, especially when learning that BADBADNOTGOOD also is known under the confusing names of GoodGoodNotBad and The Odd Trio. Solely judging on the many band names one could say they’re struggling to find a comfort zone within the unruly landscape of the contemporary jazz scene. Or are they just here for the fun of it? Earlier this month BBNG dropped their third studio album since they started out in 2011 and remarkably carries the convenient name… III. Continue reading
In many regards much about The Netherlands is small, yet this stereotype is not applicable when it comes to the amount of music festivals that are organized during the summertime. Each weekend, starting from June, the concert agenda is packed with festivals ranging from dance to rock, or maybe even better, both! One of the more prominent events is the annual jazz festival North Sea Jazz, that is currently taking place at the moment of writing. Are you new to North Sea Jazz? All right, here’s a very, very short introduction.
Critics do tend to categorize new music into genres so it’s understandable for everyone. Certain bands however seem impossible to pin down. The Heliocentrics are such a band, for they play jazz and funk. Well… that’s done and dusted you might think. Now for the tricky part, the Londoners intermingle the before mentioned styles with avant-garde, electronics, psychedelics, hip hop and ethnic traditions. So obviously no category seems to suit the well-orchestrated eclecticism of The Heliocentrics. Luckily there is always room in the extraordinary universe of Afrofuturist, Sun Ra, with whom the band is frequently compared.
Lately there has been a lot of fuss on the internet about Big Inner by Matthew E. White. In essence it is about this: ‘is it possible for a bespectacled white guy with long hair and a full beard to combine soul, funk, late fifties R&B, psychedelics and folk-gospel….?’ Indeed, there we are, left in a state of total confusion about what some already call ‘the first great album of 2013’. For the archives I have to adjust this last remark. Big Inner was formally released in the United States during the end of summer of 2012. The album was quite successful and appeared on various best of 2012 lists. Although borders don’t seem to matter in the highly interconnected society of today, a global release this January was still necessary for the rest of the world to get acquainted with White’s work. Now this semantic discussion is out of the way it’s time to talk about the man himself and his music. Continue reading