At the Barbican, back in November last year, coming through the foyer from the car park to the café, and then again later hurrying to the concert hall to catch a performance by Pharaoh Sanders, I twice caught sight of what seemed to be a temporary structure propping up the ceiling. There was little time to investigate, but curiously it appeared to continue up through the floor above. I didn’t give it much thought. I was intent on a tribute concert for Alice and John Coltrane and an evening of Cosmic Jazz. Continue reading “The Fairlop Oak”
On the day my cat died last summer, I went for a walk in Greenwich Park to seek consolation and was uplifted to encounter the awe-inspiring host of ancient trees there. I promised myself I would return in the depths of winter to photograph these magnificent specimens on a clear day when they were bare of leaves. So that was what I did last week, braving the bitter wind and the plunging temperatures for an afternoon with my camera. Continue reading “Old Trees In Greenwich Park”
Eastern Moss is a nine panel painting by Brice Marden in nine variations of terre verte (green earth) pigment. It was the first painting we met when we visited his recent exhibition at Gagosian in London.
I kept putting the same colour on – the same colour, the same colour – but every time I put it on it was different. Each time it was this whole new light/colour experience. It was not a revelation, but a whole wonderful new experience… To me, it involves harnessing some of the powers of the earth. Harnessing and communicating. Continue reading “Terre Verte”
The window of the Rowley Gallery has been blessed by the sudden arrival of a forest of twig saints. They appear to be involved in a game of invisible football, or perhaps they’re dancing in a silent disco, or maybe more likely they’re just writhing to the rhythm of life. Continue reading “I Want To Be In That Number”
This is a curiosity. I had hoped I might find the World Saxophone Quartet but instead I got the Salaya Saxophone Ensemble & the NAFA Saxophone Quintet. I have never seen such a choir of saxophones; three sopranos, eleven altos, five tenors, three baritones and one bass… I want to be in that number.
David Murray is for me the undisputed king of the saxophone, the living, breathing, embodiment of the music. I’ve seen him many times, in small groups, big bands, but most memorably playing solo. He is a force of nature, and every time it seems like his saxophone is connected directly to my heart.
This video is one of a series, The Lullaby Project, from Opera North.
Colin Stetson‘s breathtaking pump-it-up saxophone fuelled by apparently effortless circular breathing turning the instrument into an extension of the body like some kind of external hand-held bronchial tree summoning music in the shape of a transcendental endurance sport is quite a good warm-up act.
Ralph Carney, a saxophonist and jokingly self-described “man of a thousand instruments” heard on albums by Tom Waits, the Black Keys, St. Vincent, Elvis Costello, the B-52’s and Allen Ginsberg, died on December 16 in Portland, Oregon. He was 61. This video and the text below date from June 2015.
Ralph Carney is from Akron, Ohio and currently lives in San Francisco. He’s a multi-instrumentalist who was in the popular band Tin Huey in Akron in the ’70s, and since then has done everything from making curious solo recordings to collaborating with Tom Waits, Jolie Holland, Elvis Costello, the B-52s, and dozens of others. I myself am particularly fond of his work with Daved Hild and Mark Kramer in the 1980s alt-rock band Carney-Hild-Kramer.
And one week ago today, just two days after the horrible events in Charleston, SC, Mr. Carney posted a solo recording of multi-tracked saxophones to his bandcamp and Facebook. “Lament for Charleston” is a remarkable, strong work. I spoke with Carney on the phone today about how it came together, what the inspirations were, and future plans for the song.
It’s worth noting that “Alabama” by John Coltrane was written in response to a brutal church bombing undertaken by members of the KKK in 1963 in Birmingham, Ala. which killed four young black girls. Continue reading “Lament For Charleston”
Nubya Garcia is one of the leading figures in the recent resurge of jazz-influenced sounds in the UK. Born and raised in London, at 25, she is starting to make headway as a composer and saxophonist. Her signature style combines the use of live electronics with a traditional band format. Using a Korg Kaoss pad interface combined with a Boss vocal effects pedal, she manipulates the natural sound of her saxophone. She also creates custom patches through Ableton Live and Max MSP to add new dimensions to her performance and composition. Alongside her on keys is Joe Armon-Jones, a musician/composer/producer part of an exciting new wave of London-based talent.