As one who wrote the rules of jazz - alongside such notables as Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane- the bandleader Count Basie's gift was somewhat distinct. It lay in using his band as a musical instrument per se and defining a wholly unique sound. Some seventy years after his initial rise to prominence, it would be difficult to overestimate Basie's influence on subsequent jazz musicians; decades later, his sound and style are often imitated but seldom perfectly achieved.
Bart&Baker will release their first ever Remix collection, simply titled Bart&Baker Remixed. Fuelled with killer versions taken from their first EPs, it contains brand new remixes from the likes of KeX, DJ Mibor and Skeewiff, as well as the brand new track, a glorious cover of a Ray Charles “Swingnova” classic from the sixties. The German-Israeli singer Maya Saban and her Band are Jewdyssee. They have devoted themselves to revitalising the pearls of Jewish/Yiddish culture bringing back to life what was once considered to be virtually extinct.
This is the second recording by BIS of Sally Beamish’s music, and the four pieces it contains confirm utterly her high standing. Her work is thoughtfully lyrical, intense, individual, instinctively dramatic, in ways that remind me somewhat of Nicholas Mawmusic. Like him she has a particular gift for expressive harmony and timbre. The earliest piece here is No, I’m not afraid (1989), six poignant poems written from prison by Irina Ratushinskaya spoken – by Beamish herself – against sparse but hugely effective instrumental backgrounds and interspersed with five purely instrumental interludes. The disc opens with The Caledonian Road of 1997. The name of this piece refers not just to the north London thoroughfare remembered by Beamish from childhood but to her own pilgrimage northward to Scotland, where she now lives. The music resonates with a sense of ritual, of something inevitable. By contrast, the work that follows, the unabashedly poetic The Day Dawn (written for a summer school organised by Contemporary Music-making for Amateurs in 1997, and revised in 2000) derives from a Shetland fiddle tune, and is all about new beginnings. And finally there’s the saxophone concerto The Imagined Sound of Sun on Stone (1999), whose starting point is a Swedish herding call – used as a kind of ritornello – but which is drenched in a plethora of references primeval, religious, mystical and contemporary, music at once hard and soft edged. Fine playing from the soloist, John Harle, in this work and throughout the disc by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra under Ola Rudner.
Originally reached no.13 in the UK charts in 1996 – taken from the top 30 album DEAD CITIES and loosely based on “Rachael’s song” from BLADERUNNER by Vangelis. Now 22 years later the group have recreated the track in 10 new compositions, seamlessly flowing together the journey, it travels from ambient rock to a land of electronica.