Of Life (and Death?): new music from Carla Bley

The first time I saw the American composer and pianist Carla Bley perform live was back in June 1974, when she played keyboards for the Jack Bruce Band; a couple of years later; the first of her albums that I bought was ‘Dinner Music’, released a couple of years later. Thereafter, I not only made … Continue reading Of Life (and Death?): new music from Carla Bley

When Will The Blues Leave – a posthumous gem from the great Paul Bley

A few weeks ago I read something that both surprised and greatly pleased me: an announcement of the imminent release of a new CD featuring the great Canadian pianist Paul Bley (1932-2016), in a live performance recorded in Lugano in 1999 featuring the illustrious trio of Bley, bassist Gary Peacock and the late, likewise great … Continue reading When Will The Blues Leave – a posthumous gem from the great Paul Bley

Giovanni Guidi: great jazz pianist and versatile composer

Since its inception 50 years ago, the ECM label has become a haven for great jazz pianists – only last week I wrote about a new album from Craig Taborn and Vijay Iyer. But the label is perhaps especially famous for having promoted a particular kind of piano trio, where bass and percussion carry as … Continue reading Giovanni Guidi: great jazz pianist and versatile composer

Luminous meshwork: the dazzling piano duo of Craig Taborn and Vijay Iyer

A couple of years ago, to coincide with the release of his quartet album Daylight Ghosts, I posted a piece about the great American pianist Craig Taborn in which I ended by wondering enthusiastically about what he would come up with next. Well, we now have the answer in the form of a new album, … Continue reading Luminous meshwork: the dazzling piano duo of Craig Taborn and Vijay Iyer

Of birds and bombs: new music from Eleni Karaindrou

If, like me, you’re a fan of the films of the late Theo Angelopoulos, there’s a fair chance that you are also an admirer of the music of the composer Eleni Karaindrou, who composed the music for the great Greek writer-director’s last eight features, from Voyage to Cythera (1984) to The Dust of Time (2009) … Continue reading Of birds and bombs: new music from Eleni Karaindrou

My best movies, music and other moments from 2018

When, around this time last year, I posted my round-up of my favourite movies, music and so on of 2017, I felt the need to say what a difference the arts had made for me in a time of depressing political confusion and chaos. I’m not going to kick off another rant this year, even … Continue reading My best movies, music and other moments from 2018

Movies and music for Christmas and beyond

This time last year I posted a piece highlighting some favourites movies of mine which had been released on disc during 2017; I hoped it might prove helpful for anyone wondering what to buy for Christmas presents. It seemed to go down quite well, so this year I’ve decided to repeat the exercise, with some … Continue reading Movies and music for Christmas and beyond

Of Old Songs and New Beginnings: three terrific new jazz albums

I’ve been listening a lot recently to three terrific new jazz albums which illustrate just how widely varied the musics covered by that term may be. I’m not using the word in the almost ludicrously catch-all way deployed these days by the London Jazz Festival, where virtually anything that isn’t classical music might get a … Continue reading Of Old Songs and New Beginnings: three terrific new jazz albums

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)

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