Early October

Definitely heading into autumn this week, with oodles of rain most days. Currently recovering from an unexpectedly strenuous cycle ride with Mr Peter H, out to St Aidan’s Nature Reserve and Fairburn Ings, back via Castleford – we were promised sunshine but mostly drizzle ensued.

The autumn season at Wakefield Jazz got off to a good start with Empirical (sax/vibes/bass/drums) – very much inspired by Eric Dolphy’s Out To Lunch album of 1964. One of my favourite albums – I always expect vibes players to sound more like Bobby Hutcherson than Milt Jackson, with an angular percussive crunchy sound, using the pedal for real sharp cut-offs. I saw a gig with Peter Brötzmann on sax and Jason Adasiewicz on vibes a few years ago in a Hong Kong gallery – now that was a remarkably intense gig (not necessarily for the Wakefield audience), with Mr Adasiewicz stepping backwards and forwards from his instrument with great intention. Anyway, Empirical played a fine version of Gazzelloni from the Dolphy album, and I particularly enjoyed the consistent intensity of Nathaniel Facey’s solos on alto sax.

This week we have French horn-player Jim Rattigan’s 12-piece Pavillon, with a panoply of star names. Gil Evans-style is what I’m saying, but the proof will be in the listening.

I’m enjoying reading Nate Chinen’s recent book Playing Changes, an extended selection of reviews and writings about jazz in the last 25 years, mostly USA-focussed, but with a proper consideration of the context of jazz post-1970s, the institutionalisation of jazz education and the successful funding of Wynton Marsalis’ very conservative approach. So far I’ve read about Wayne Shorter, Jason Moran, Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, John Zorn, Brad Mehldau among others – it’s good to have some kind of context for the music that I’ve been listening to for the past decades, without always seeing a wider picture, even though of course mainstream criticism often reads as unacknowledged promotion. Any of those musicians would be very welcome to come to Wakefield and enjoy pie and peas and a Friday night raffle.

And as well as continuing to look at Miles Okazaki’s method (this week, his Triad Mandala), I’ve also now acquired some Matt Mitchell piano scores to peruse. Is it all about complexity for its own sake? Discuss.