Hello again friends, freaks and fans of Future Jazz.
How the buggery is he doing it, I hear you say? With album releases being cancelled left, right and centre, how is he still finding super-sweet new music to mangle our mind-brains with?
And the answer, dear readers, is that I very much considered breaking with tradition to do a look back at some of the very much under-appreciated albums of yesteryear this week. I had tracks from The Dick Handler Quartet’s seminal EP I Should Have Been Crucified all lined up, alongside tunes from Svetlana Gruebbersolvik’s suggestively titled (until you realise she’s a flautist… maybe) My Lips Are For Blowing and Buckner Fanning’s The Strategy of Penetration.
Fortunately for you, I did manage to rattle together five sparkling new releases which, in honour of all three members of creepy uncle Dick’s quartet, I’ve introduced using the theme of ill-conceived religious music album titles.
Fingering And Praying for the Lord just like Loretta Fudge is prodigious jazz sax innovator Tenderlonious. His cover of Tubby Hayes’ Down in the Village is your Charm Offensive selection this week.
Begging Jesus [to] Use Me just like the Faith Tones in 1964 is South London’s Ghostpoet [pictured]. His unholy latest release Nowhere to Hide Now is the Military Coup.
Delivering every time just like The Holy Milkmen on their album Quarts of Love is serpentwithfeet. His track A Comma will give you pause for thought and is this entry’s Peaceful Protest.
…And like Tommy Floyd, who looked like he’d had a delivery from the aforementioned Milkmen when he had …Love All Over My Face, Cooks But We’re Chefs bring all the smiles with their entry Stella Maris. That’s your Guerrilla Warfare selection.
And finally, making contact with me in a similar sort of way to how “he” made contact with Greg Kendrick on the latter’s He Touched Me album is Leeds jazz vocalist B-âhwe. Enigmatically named she may be but her track Sliding leaves it all out there. And that is your Quiet Riot this week.
And so, my friends, if any of that has got you on your knees, praying to be entered by a man with magic hands, by all means, hear more here…
– 1 –
THE CHARM OFFENSIVE
TENDERLONIOUS: DOWN IN THE VILLAGE
Saxophonist and producer Tenderlonious (AKA Ed Cawthorne) ropes in five of his bessie mates and fellow jazz-scene mavericks (trumpeter Nick Walters, pianist Hamish Balfour, accordionist Aidan Shepherd, drummer Tim Carnegie and bass player Pete Martin) to record an EP of Tubby Hayes reinterpretations, titled The Piccolo – Tender Plays Tubby.
Opening track Down in the Village really sets the tempo as it sways and swings with a visceral, vibrant energy, intoxicatingly switching between time signatures and offering each musician their own moment in the spotlight.
Even for a man like Hayes, who worked with the likes of Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald no less, I’m sure he’d be immensely proud of what Mr Cawthorne has achieved here.
Further listening: hear Tenderlonious and Nick Walters in action together in my review of the Paradox Ensemble’s 34268.
– 2 –
THE MILITARY COUP
GHOSTPOET: NOWHERE TO HIDE NOW
PLAY IT AGAIN SAM
The man who first hit jazz radars in 2011 with dark genre-bursting debut record Peanut Butter Blue and Melancholy Jam – returns with more illusively introspective anthems. Obaro Ejimiwe – better known as Ghostpoet -’s latest release is called I Grow Tired But I Dare Not Fall Asleep and it’s probably the only nightmare you’ll never want to wake up from.
Latest single, Nowhere to Hide Now is Ghostpoet at his most caustic and compelling. Over a writhing bassline, wailing guitars and Halloween-ready organs Ejimiwe talks of “complicated times”, “tragic fear tearin’ us apart”, and “drunken power plays”. It’s seething and sensual and serious as hell. But the devil does have all the best tunes.
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THE PEACEFUL PROTEST
SERPENTWITHFEET: A COMMA
Avant-garde RnB artist serpentwithfeet (AKA Josiah Wise) pops in with another tantalising little EP called Apparition featuring the not inconsiderable production chops of Wynne Bennett (Janelle Monae, Twin Shadow).
On first single A Comma Wise lays bare his vulnerabilities; imploring life to “get easier”, “wondering what’s wrong with me” and “struggling to find a way”. It’s stark, simple and unapologetically exposed. And it’s perfectly underscored by the piano lines, harmonies and subtle electronics that accompany it.
Having said all of that, if there’s one person who could ‘shut his windows and demand a breeze’ and get away with it, I still think it’d be Wise.
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COOKS BUT WE’RE CHEFS: STELLA MARIS
In their own words, Cooks But We’re Chefs are a “nine piece hip hop fusion band from Dublin.” In the words of their Facebook fans, they are variously described as “solid”, “great band, name could do with a bit of work” and “worth much more than a tray of diet coke”. Their debut EP Sports Day is out now.
Despite their culinary name, this band are a treat for the hips rather than the lips… making music designed to shake dat aaaass to. Nonetheless, because it suits me, I’ll stick with the cooking analogy when I say that, on Stella Maris the ‘Chefs bring a fistful of fresh flavours, including – but not limited to – funk, flare-ready disco and full-fat rap.
In my own words, Cooks But We’re Chefs are gourmet ingestion at its most delicious.
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THE QUIET RIOT
Leeds-based vocalist B-âhwe (known to her Mum as Bethany Herrington) will release her debut EP, Nuance at the end of this month. If the voice sounds familiar it’s because she’s also performed with friend of this parish, Yaatri. If you’re wondering how to pronounce her name… I’ve not the foggiest. Soz, yeah?
Right from its blues-rock-with-brains intro, Sliding plays like an experiment in how to keep your audience on its toes. Full of sassy stops, syncopation and harmonic sorcery, it’s a track that’s taking immense joy in strutting what it can do.
And yet, it isn’t esoteric. Hidden under all of that, Herrington’s gift for a melody shines through in the chorus. And Liam deTar’s guitar lines are, as always, sublime.
Further watching: this live performance of Sliding from the Sofar stage.
And so we reach a cease-fire for this week.
You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the Future Jazz Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
Until next time, love and noise.
– SV –