Glimpses of a guitar great: meeting John Abercrombie (on film)

Those of you who have visited my website more than once or twice may be aware of my enduring interest in much of the music released by ECM. One of the mainstays of the label over the years, alongside the likes of Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Norma Winstone,  John Surman and others, was the great … Continue reading Glimpses of a guitar great: meeting John Abercrombie (on film)

Faces and far more: the photographic genius of August Sander

I’ve had a good week, exhibition-wise, kicking off with a visit to the Tate Modern’s pleasingly not-too-crowded ‘Picasso 1932’, followed by a first-day (and therefore extraordinarily quiet) encounter with the Royal Academy’s historical survey of summer-show landmarks, ‘The Great Spectacle’. I can recommend both shows, but it was a third outing that gave me the … Continue reading Faces and far more: the photographic genius of August Sander

The 2018 Cannes Film Festival: My Top 12 Movies

While last year’s Cannes - the 70th edition of the Festival – was a little underwhelming, this year’s event turned out to be pretty rewarding, at least in terms of the main competition. While I wouldn’t claim that it produced any indisputable masterpieces, there were many very good films on offer, and around five or … Continue reading The 2018 Cannes Film Festival: My Top 12 Movies

Stops Making Sense: Organ music with a difference

Year in, year out, Easter throws up gigs galore with music that’s good for the soul: Bach, of course – especially the Passions, for obvious reasons – but also masses, motets and so on by the likes of Pärt, Pergolesi or Poulenc, Tavener, Taverner or Tallis, not to mention Handel’s inevitable Messiah. Evidently, the profound … Continue reading Stops Making Sense: Organ music with a difference

The 2018 Berlin Film Festival – my top ten movies

The 2018 edition of the Berlin Film Festival was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a superior vintage; like myself, most critics I spoke with agreed that there were few if any truly outstanding films, though a couple whose opinions I respect did tell me they had discovered a masterpiece in  the Forum strand … Continue reading The 2018 Berlin Film Festival – my top ten movies

Reworking music from the movies: Norma Winstone’s ‘Descansado’

‘It’s always good if you can find a theme for an album. In this case, what happened was this: Glauco often plays little tunes during sound-checks, and when you ask him what the music is, it frequently turns out to be from some film. So I thought it would be nice to take music which … Continue reading Reworking music from the movies: Norma Winstone’s ‘Descansado’

A Night to Remember (Brilliance, Brilliance, Everywhere…)

As anyone who follows me on Twitter probably knows, I these days spend a very pleasurably inordinate amount of my time attending concerts at London’s Wigmore Hall. Only during the last decade have I become a regular there; while I’ve always liked classical music, for many years I behaved (unwittingly) as if I wanted some … Continue reading A Night to Remember (Brilliance, Brilliance, Everywhere…)

From Baker Street to Loch Ness: Billy Wilder takes a trip with Sherlock Holmes

I am not usually moved to write here about new DVD or BluRay releases, but in the case of a new release, on Eureka’s Masters of Cinema label, of Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, I decided to make an exception. Those who’ve read me on Wilder before will know that I am … Continue reading From Baker Street to Loch Ness: Billy Wilder takes a trip with Sherlock Holmes

Norwegian Good II: Bjarte Eike and Jon Balke

For many years now I’ve been taking an enthusiastic interest in Scandinavian music: not just that of my long-term favourites Sibelius and Nielsen, whose work I’ve adored since I first discovered it in my teens, but more contemporary fare, particularly in that fertile territory situated somewhere between jazz, folk, chamber music and experimental improvisation. It’s … Continue reading Norwegian Good II: Bjarte Eike and Jon Balke

My Best Moments of 2017: films, music and other stuff…

What with the depressing political mess we found ourselves in throughout 2017, which tended to privilege prejudice over reason, brazen deceit over factual truths, personal profit over compassion for others, and the short-term gains of the present over the long-term requirements of the future, it could be difficult to find cause for hope. But that … Continue reading My Best Moments of 2017: films, music and other stuff…